In the wake of releasing Bobby Abreu, the Mets chose to promote Kirk Nieuwenhuis over Matt den Dekker because he is more used to be being a bench player, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporter Adam Rubin (ESPN, Aug. 6).
Den Dekker is hitting .331 this season in Triple-A, including batting .436 during his past 10 games. He has just 25 strike outs in 161 at bats in Las Vegas.
“He’s swinging the bat really well,” Alderson said of den Dekker. “Obviously we’re cognizant of what Matt’s doing and we’re pleased about it.”
Alderson told Rubin he might wait for September call-ups before promoting den Dekker to the Mets, as opposed to demoting or releasing a current player to make room for him on the 25-man roster.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I’d rather watch den Dekker than Chris Young. The Mets are six games under .500 with 48 games left, they’re 29-34 in games when Young is in the starting lineup, he’s batting .206 this season and roughly .200 since the middle of May. What can Young possibly do in the next 48 games to better justify his roster spot and contract? More importantly, what has he done in the last 250 at bats to suggest the next 100 will be any different?
I’m all for veteran leadership on a young team. It’s important. But, it’s not more important than rewarding good performance and fielding the best possible roster. Den Dekker is 26 years old. He’s always been incredibly gifted in the field, as good as Juan Lagares. However, den Dekker has worked very hard the last four years to finally be doing what he’s doing with the bat.
Den Dekker was knocked as being a fourth outfielder, one-way player. Well, he’s on fire in Triple-A. I have no idea if he can hit this way in the big leagues — in fact, I have serious doubts he can. However, he should be rewarded with an opportunity, while in a hot streak, to see if his adjustments and hard work can finally translate at the next level. And, because Young’s presence is forcing the need for a bench player, Alderson is choosing the more appropriate player for that role, Nieuwenhuis, as opposed to den Dekker, who has most recently been the most productive of the three… and that’s a shame…