This morning in Port St. Lucie, Terry Collins held his first press conference of spring training. He answered questions for roughly 25 minutes, and nothing revelatory came out.
Sep 29, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) waves to the fans after a game at Citi Field. The Mets won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Before recapping, it’s important to again point out that it will be Sandy Alderson who makes the decisions regarding the makeup of the roster – not Collins.
Collins may have his favorites and say some things that turn heads, but he’s not the one who will be making the final calls.
On Lucas Duda potentially seeing some time in the outfield:
Collins noted that “at this particular moment in spring, you’re talking about at bats” – meaning that Duda may get some time in outfield during the spring in order to get at bats under his belt. The “majority” of his at bats will be at first base.
On Eric Young, Jr. and the element he brings:
"What Eric Young did for us last year I think saved us. People forget what a great job he did defensively. When he (Lagares) gets in here, we gotta take a look and see what we have…we’ll just make those decisions as we got further into spring training."
On how he ranks the candidates for 5th starter job:
"I have no problem (going with a young guy)…we’re gonna take the best guy who’s pitching the best. I always hate to number guys – who can make us the most successful? We’ve got some very good candidates, starting with Jenrry Mejia who looks 100 percent."
Is Bobby Parnell the closer definitively?
Regarding the opening day starter:
"Jon [Niese] right now, we’re leaning towards Jon to be that guy."
How does he make a decision between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda?
"It’s gonna be about what our best fit is, what the lineup looks like. Ike did have a good spring last year, but I just see a different Ike Davis…he’s fighting for his life, and I think that changes the way you go about things…the hardest part is gonna be making sure they get the at bats that they need."
On competing in the division:
Says “it all comes down to pitching.” – cites 50-50 record to end last year, addition of Granderson and Chris Young, and the young players who are on the upswing: “The one thing we’ve gotta do, gotta play better at home…if we play as well at home as we do on the road, we’ll be in good shape in December.”
Regarding Wilmer Flores getting some time at shortstop:
"I think we’ll see Wilmer Flores play some games at shortstop, yes."
On the perception that Ruben Tejada has no competition:
"He does, we’ve got Omar Quintanilla coming in."
Who are leadoff candidates aside from Eric Young, Jr.?
"You gotta think about [Ruben] Tejada…I’m gonna talk to Chris Young about leading off…we’ll figure that out as we get into camp. As we sit here today, Eric Young is the guy you’d kinda like to see at the top of the order."
On veterans and their at bats during the spring:
"David [Wright] and [Daniel] Murphy and Curtis [Granderson], they’re not gonna get a lot starting out – they’re gonna get a lot at the end…we’re gonna try to keep this oblique thing (David Wright‘s 2013 injury) under control."
Again, nothing revelatory really came out of today’s press conference.
It’s clear that Collins’ love for Eric Young, Jr. hasn’t waned, but general manager Sandy Alderson noted a few days ago that it would be Juan Lagares who’s in center field for the first spring training game – not Young.
It’s nice to hear Collins mention Jenrry Mejia’s name first when asked about the fifth starter job, not so nice to hear about his reliance on spring training stats as a deciding factor. Fortunately, it will be Sandy Alderson who has the final say.
The most cringe-worthy part of the press conference was when Collins noted that Ruben Tejada does have competition, and that his competition is Omar Quintanilla. This has nothing to do with Collins, and everything to do with the current makeup of the roster. Stephen Drew, what say you?