With center fielder Juan Lagares set to be activated from the disabled list prior to Thursday’s series-opener in Colorado, the Mets are faced with the same “issue” they thought they had a few weeks ago when Chris Young was about to return: how should the outfield playing time be distributed?
A few weeks ago, before Juan Lagares‘ hamstring injury rendered the issue moot, manager Terry Collins was planning to rotate every outfielder (except for Curtis Granderson) in order to get each player regular at-bats. That idea was poor, but the current one Collins has is even worse.
On Tuesday, Collins had the following to say when asked about what he would do when Lagares returned:
I think all of them deserve to be out there at some time. They all have a key part on our club, and I don’t know how I’m going to rotate it just yet, but I think they all deserve an opportunity. I don’t think there’s one guy you can point your finger at and say, ‘Hey, you’re not playing.'”
In actuality, there is one guy you can point your finger at and say ‘hey, you’re not playing’ to. That guy is Eric Young, Jr.
Curtis Granderson, because of his track record, and the expectation that he’ll be one of the main suppliers of power in the lineup, should be playing every day.
Chris Young, who averages 24 home runs per 162 games and plays plus defense, should be playing every day.
Juan Lagares, who is arguably the best defensive center fielder in baseball and whose offense has been a bright spot this season, should be playing every day.
Eric Young, Jr., who has gone 10 for 47 since Lagares’ injury, who doesn’t play plus defense, and who has a triple slash of .215/.316/.269 so far in 2014, should be coming off the bench.
Yes, Young, Jr. has stolen a bunch of bases and scored lots of runs.
No, he shouldn’t be taking playing time away from any of Granderson, Lagares, or Chris Young.
As has been stated before, if this decision is too difficult for Collins to make on his own, Sandy Alderson needs to step in and make it for him.