Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Terry Collins got a bit defensive with fans and media this past weekend, when being questioned about his lineup choices.
In case you missed it this past Friday, there was a bit of an uproar about Juan Lagares again not being in the starting lineup.
“He’s not been swinging good,” Collins said Friday, when asked why Lagares had been on the bench the last four games. “We need his defense, but we have to score runs.”
Lagares had 12 hits in the 46 at bats (.286) prior to essentially being benched before the start of the Subway Series. As a result, by the end of Friday’s game, the hashtag #FreeLagares ended up trending nationwide on Twitter.
Lagares started the next day, hit and robbed a home run and lead the Mets to their only win in the last five days.
“He has been an everyday player. He got into a little bit of a funk,” Collins said when asked why Lageres was no longer viewed as an every-day player. “You know, it’s not like I sat him for seven days. I sat him for two days, for cripes sake. We get a little carried away here. Somebody gets a day off and it’s like the sky is falling in. It’s not. … This is what the market is here. If I give Grandy a day off, he’s ‘benched.’ If I give C.Y. a day off, he’s ‘benched.’ If I give Juan a day off, he’s ‘benched.’ That’s not really the case. I know you’ve got to sell newspapers, so do what you’ve got to say. But when I come in here every day and figure out who has got to be in the lineup, somebody can’t play. And today somebody is not going to play. I don’t get too bent out of shape about it, because I know in the long run, after the next 120 games, they’re all going to [have] play[ed].”
The next day, it was reported that Ruben Tejada would continue to get the bulk of the playing time at shortstop (Rubin, May 17).
“He’s showing us that he’s the same player he was a couple years ago,” Collins said earlier this week (Bergen Record, May 15). “This guy is really swinging the bat good.”
Tejada had been batting .178 during the 54 plate appearances prior to Terry’s statement.
He has one hit in his last 14 plate appearances, including going hitless against the Nationals the last three days.
Lagares had been dealing with a family emergency and will travel to the Dominican Republic on Monday due to a death in the family. He is expected back with the team on Tuesday.
This past Friday night, after expressing confusion over his handling of Lagares, I wrote this about Collins: “You know, I’m really starting to be concerned about his judgement. … Flores, who is just 22 years old, and who should be playing every day, some place, is riding the pine, despite being a guy who is known for his bat not his glove. Yet, he’s on the bench, while Tejada and his .139 average in May are starting every day, at a time Terry is concerned about offense not defense. I’m at a loss. I officially have no idea what Collins is doing, because he’s doing the exact opposite of what he says he thinks he’s doing, all while saying things that are contradicted by every stat you can find.”
This weekend did nothing to give me confidence. I realize he isn’t in a perfect situation. He’s being forced to juggle playing time between a lot of mediocre veterans and still-developing rookies, all while trying to meet his GM’s public expectations to win. However, for his own sake, he should at least to act in concern with what he’s saying. This will help him as it pertains to fans and media, at least until his team starts winning again.