Terry Collins spoke to the media today about two of the Mets three injured shortstops and where they are in the rehab process. Both Justin Turner and Ronny Cedeno will be joining the Buffalo Bisons for their rehab assignments, as they get ready to return to MLB action….or will they? Collins said that neither one of them will be returning to the team this weekend, as they both need more at-bats, but that only prolongs the inevitable roster crunch New York will have to deal with.
Once the injured Mets are ready to re-join the roster, there will be an interesting issue on Terry Collins’ hands. It is clear that Omar Quintanilla, Vinny Rottino, and Jordany Valdespin will be optioned back down to Triple-A to make room for these returning players, but there is still one more player that will have to be left off the MLB roster. Matt Cerrone of MetsBlogbelieves that Turner will be the unfortunate roster casualty, but I think this is the time for the Mets to make a statement.
Whenever Tejada is healthy enough to return to the lineup, the Mets will have too many right handed hitters on their bench. This leaves the conversation of who will have to make room for the 22-year-old shortstop down to Mike Nickeas, Andres Torres, and Jason Bay. Nickeas is the lone back-up catcher the Mets have, so you know he’s the safest of all three. However, the other two are not so safe.
The rumors about Kirk Nieuwenhuis possibly getting optioned back to Buffalo are bound to start, but there is no way Collins can send down someone who has played so well offensively and defensively as Captain Kirk has. So, he’s not going anywhere. The debate on this roster dilemma lies in the overcrowded outfield. People are thinking Turner will be on the outside looking in because of Scott Hairston‘s, but I don’t think so.
Collins may have to decide between Torres and Bay on who to keep. So, let’s see here; Torres is a switch-hitting center fielder who is solid defensively and gives the Mets speed, something they don’t have. Although he hasn’t hit all that well this year after a quick start (.221/.333/.328), he has shown signs of life lately. On the other hand, Bay has barely showed up to the ballpark (.183/.284/.338) and if Terry Collins would rather go to a platoon situation with Nieuwenhuis in left, the better decision is to use Hairston, who is hitting .352 against southpaws this season. Hmm, this seems like a real tough decision, right?
Jason Bay’s salary makes this decision tough, as his $16 million salary speaks for itself, especially compared to Torres’ salary of $2.7 million. That is an awful lot of money to eat if the organization flat out gets rid of Bay, but he’s clearly not helping the team. When there are a handful of other players on the roster that can do the job better than him, it makes this an easy decision in my eyes. Don’t forget, Sandy Alderson cut both Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo before the 2011 season, deciding that it would be better for the team to eat the $18 million of salary owed to those two players instead of carrying them on the roster. The Mets GM is not afraid to make a drastic move like this.
So, it really comes down to keeping either Justin Turner or Jason Bay. Which right-handed hitter would you rather have on the roster? Come on man, no question.