Jun 20

Not Enamored With Collins’ Decisions Or Reasoning Friday

Jacob deGrom had only thrown 97 pitches when he was pulled in the eighth inning of Friday night’s 2-1 loss at Atlanta. He deserved better, from his defense, his bullpen, and his manager. Come to think about it, he deserved better from his general manager, too.

DE GROM: Should have stayed in. (AP)

DE GROM: Should have stayed in. (AP)

Betrayed is too strong a word, but he was definitely let down. DeGrom took a slim 1-0 lead into the eighth because the Mets’ anemic offense stranded six and was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. This offense has done little for much of the year, and even less the past month.

After Andrelton Simmons doubled to lead off the eighth, most everybody in the park knew Eury Perez was going to lay down a bunt to the third base side. DeGrom pounced on the ball and immediately looked to third, but Ruben Tejada wasn’t by the bag. Had he been there, deGrom would have nailed the runner.

Not a natural third baseman, Tejada botched the play, but manager Terry Collins said he had no problem with his handling of the play.

“We’re trying to get an out there,” Collins told reporters, adding Tejada did the right thing.

I beg to differ. Strongly. Yes, they are trying to get an out, but that out needed to be at third and not first. How were they going to do that if Tejada wasn’t covering third?

I can buy Collins if he was trying to protect the inexperienced Tejada’s fragile ego. But, here’s where I have a problem with GM Sandy Alderson. HIs job is to ensure the Mets have the appropriate talent needed to win games and this is not the first time they’ve been left with a thin bench and poor bullpen choice.

Pedro Ciriaco followed with a grounder to shortstop Wilmer Flores, who took too long looking the runner back to third and couldn’t get the runner at first.

The Braves now had runners on the corners with one out when Collins summoned Sean Gilmartin.

“I thought it was time,” said Collins. Yes, time to lose the game.

DeGrom is the Mets’ best pitcher and only had thrown 97 pitches. Collins mentioned the pitch count, but deGrom’s defense opened the door.

There was nothing deGrom did to warrant being pulled. Collins knows he has an unreliable bullpen with the exception of Jeurys Familia. If deGrom is to be considered ace-like his manager must show him the confidence to make it through the inning.

Collins’ best choice was to stick with deGrom or go to Familia to close the eighth.

Gilmartin was not the best decision, evidenced by Jace Peterson promptly doubling in two runs to waste another good start.

Yes, deGrom deserved better. Much better.

 

Dec 02

Tejada In, Young Out

Not surprisingly, the Mets non-tendered outfielder Eric Young and offered a contract to infielder Ruben Tejada projected to be $1.7 million.

Young, who was arbitration eligible, was projected to make $2.25 million in 2015, too rich for the Mets’ blood for a bench player.

Young was expendable because for all his speed – 30 stolen bases last season – he failed to develop into the prototypical leadoff hitter. One number said it all about Young and that was his .299 on-base percentage.

Consequently, left field remained a black hole the Mets chose to fill with Michael Cuddyer.

Dec 02

Look For Mets To Keep Tejada And Non-Tender Young

The Mets have until midnight today to decide whether to tender contracts to infielder Ruben Tejada and outfielder Eric Young. Speculation has the Mets keeping Tejada and cutting Young loose for economic and practical reasons.

The Mets are uncertain about shortstop but appear to be leaning to unproven Wilmer Flores. Given the high probability of not acquiring a “name’’ shortstop this winter, the Mets need a fallback if Flores doesn’t work out. And, at a projected $1.7 million, Tejada is an inexpensive option.

Meanwhile, Young, who’ll make over $2 million, won’t start because he can’t crack the outfield of Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson. Young’s 30 stolen bases would be missed, but the Mets prefer the friendly contracts of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker.

So, unless something unforeseen happens the rest of the day, Tejada will stay and Young will go. Quite simple, really.

Oct 06

Leadoff Hitter Remains A Nagging Question

Of all the Mets’ off-season questions, the matter of their leadoff hitter is one of the most intriguing. That is especially if their intent is to fill it from within.

With no budding Lou Brock or Rickey Henderson in their farm system, their best hope is on their current 40-man roster. I say that because there’s no real answer in the free-agent market and they are reluctant to trade their young pitching.

The primary in-house candidates are Eric Young, Juan Lagares, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. All have something they could bring to the table, but all have issues to the negative.

Young, Lagares and Nieuwenhuis have speed, but also rather low on-base percentages and a penchant for striking out too much.

Of the group, Murphy is the best hitter, but for a relatively weak lineup he’s better suited for a run-producing slot in the middle of the order. Also, Murphy’s on-base percentage, at .332, isn’t as lofty as one might think.

If Murphy is still here – a substantial question – he should be hitting between second and sixth.

As for Young, there’s an excellent chance it will be a moot point and not be brought back.

Last winter, manager Terry Collins toyed with the idea of experimenting with Tejada. The catch here is Tejada needs a position to play and that means starting ahead of Wilmer Flores, which isn’t a given.

Mets’ 11 different leadoff hitters ranked last in the majors with a .235 average and paltry a .308 on-base percentage. If they want to change that, they’ll have to hope for a breakout season from the names suggested or be willing to spend.

Sep 17

Collins Blowing Smoke; It’s Flores’ Job To Lose

Terry Collins insists shortstop will be wide open next spring, but what else can he say?

Even after Wilmer Flores homered twice and drove in six runs Tuesday night in a 9-1 rout of the Marlins, and has driven in 10 runs over the last four games, Collins is dancing the politically correct line.

He has to.

FLORES: Should get job. (Getty)

FLORES: Should get job. (Getty)

He can’t give the job to Flores outright, because it will hurt whatever trade value Ruben Tejada might have left. Plus, Flores hasn’t exactly done it all year. What if he regresses?

Flores always had a greater offensive potential than Tejada, with the latter having the better of it defensively. However, one of the biggest surprises this summer has been Flores’ play at shortstop. He doesn’t have great range – that can be made up by better positioning, which he’ll learn – but seems to make most of the plays.

My feeling is Flores would help win more games with his bat than Tejada will with his glove.

Collins has to blow a little smoke because that’s what managers do, but bet on Flores getting the job next year.