In the world of recruiting and human resources there is a saying, “the best predictor of future performance is past performance”. The New York Mets made a $7.25 million mistake by signing Chris Young this offseason in the hopes that he was going to be another Marlon Byrd type reclamation project. Instead the Mets and Sandy Alderson got exactly what Young’s past performance would predict, a lot of strikeouts and aging legs. I will admit that I did not mind the signing especially as it relates to the Baltimore Orioles signing Nelson Cruz. The market was different for Cruz when Young signed with the Mets and Sandy clearly wanted to protect the Mets from leaving the winter empty handed. In the end it was a mistake and finally tonight on August 8, 2014 the Mets designated Young for assignment.
Matt den Dekker has been called up and will most likely be getting the bulk of the playing time out in left field. This was the right move to make by the Mets and one that twitter and most beat writers have been calling for. My issue is with the timing of the move. Young has been getting a lot of playing time since the All-Star break – 20 games played and 4 DNP. In those 20 games he’s not shown any offensive or defensive ability that indicates that he deserved the playing time. By allowing him to take the spot on the roster it sent the wrong message. The message was if a player signs a big contract then he will get the playing time to prove to the media and public that the signing was not a mistake. The message is not that the player who puts the Mets in the best position to win will play. After tonight’s 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies the Mets are 55-61, and 8 games back of the Washington Nationals in the NL East and 7 games back of the wild card leading Pittsburgh Pirates. With 46 games left to play it doesn’t look like the Mets will be playing meaningful baseball in August and September.
To make a run at postseason baseball the Mets need to climb over 5 teams for the wild card and 2 teams for the division. Even for the most “ya gotta believe” Mets fan this seems unlikely. I’m glad the Mets are finally allowing the young outfield tandem of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and den Dekker to play but what took so long? It is hard to believe that their contributions could have been worse than what Young was doing. If the Mets executives and Alderson believed in 90 wins this season then Young should not have played because he just wasn’t producing and if they wanted to build for 2015 season they should have been finding out what the organization had in their two left handed outfielders.
The next 46 games of the season will be a tryout for the Nieuwenhuis and den Dekker as well as Wilmer Flores. I’m excited to see what the team has in these guys but at the same time frustrated that for the 6th year in a row the narrative for Mets fans will be the same.
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