It will be Spring Training in September

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

In his talk with reporters on Wednesday, Terry Collins suggested certain players would essentially be auditioning at different positions over the next few days.

Terry’s team is basically the Las Vegas 51s at this point, since six of yesterday’s starters all played in Triple-A at some point this year. It’s also worth noting that Wednesday’s starting pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, spent most of the year at Triple-A Columbus with the Indians.

Wilmer Flores 2 polaroidWilmer Flores started at second base on Wednesday night against the Phillies, not Daniel Murphy. It was Wilmer’s first start at second this season. He played in 106 games at second in the minors. Murphy is today’s starting second base, which Collins suggested would happen. I don’t think we’ll see Flores at second on a regular basis, but he’s clearly going to get time there, since he’ll either be playing second or first base next season for the Mets… or third base for someone else.

Collins also said that Matt den Dekker will start in centerfield on Thursday, displacing Juan Lagares, who might see time in right field now that Marlon Byrd has been traded. Den Dekker will also get time in right field, which is a position that seems better suited for Lagares because of his arm strength.

In games that he plays in, Lucas Duda will only play first base through the remainder of the season, Collins told WFAN on Wednesday. Duda is today’s starting first baseman.

“There will be not a lot of Lucas in the outfield, unless we have to,” he said.

The Mets will also call up another starting pitcher to replace Carlos Torres in the rotation on September 1, but it will not be Rafael Montero.

In other words, it’s Spring Training in September, complete with position battles and moral victories. I’m fine with this for now. It’s a necessary step in what was always going to be a transition season. However, this needs to be the last time this happens. It’s also telling that Collins and Sandy Alderson are willing to move Murphy and Davis out of the starting lineup a bit to better asses the roster’s lesser-known talent. I mean, if they don’t have a read on Murphy and Ike at this point, they never will. So, it’s smart to turn these next six weeks in to a review period.

Alderson has A LOT of work to do this winter, and the more he knows about Lagares, den Dekker and Flores and others, the better off he’ll be…