Wednesday night Jason Heywood won the first battle of the game and homered, and bang it was 1-0. The next batter, Andrelton Simmons, hit a slow groundball to Ruben Tejada for an infield “hit.” Then Freddie Freeman hits a rocket to the center field wall that nobody in the National League catches but Juan Lagares. One out. After that comes an easy double play ball to short, but Tejada fumbles and hesitates, and Murphy is never going to overcome that. So we get a force play at second. At this point Wheeler gets the message and strikes out an Upton brother. A five out inning, with no errors in the box score to prove it. And the only reason it didn’t cost the team a bunch of runs is because of Lagares, a player who has never been given one single vote of confidence from anyone associated with the team. The message with Juan seems clear, that he lives five or six bad at bats away from a benching.
If yesterday was an isolated incident, that would be one thing, but this is going on daily. All the announcers on SNY are already lamenting what they are forced to watch. On Wednesday Gary Cohen said something along the lines of the following to Ron Darling,
“Do you notice that instead of explaining how the Mets turned a double play we are always explaining why they didn’t?”
Which was gentle compared to Bob Ojeda. On Tuesday Terry Colllins once again included the words, Lucas Duda, and outfield, in the same sentence. Ojeda got into that quickly on the pregame that night and he was in full “crazy eyes” rant mode. Again, I can’t swear this is an exact quote as the remote wasn’t within reach and I didn’t get it on tape, but it is close, very close, as I was scribbling it down to send to Jimmy:
“Duda cannot play the outfield. He can’t. He just can’t. He cannot play the outfield. You can see it clearly with your eyes. It might not show up on a printout or a graph, but he can’t do it. He cannot play the outfield.”
This observation from Ojeda is not especially keen; the man is just stating the obvious. And in fairness to the world of printouts and graphs, there are reams of defensive statistics that agree with Bobby’s eyes. The argument of playing Duda in the outfield is not an argument between the stats and scouts. It is an argument between the sane and the crazy. That is a huge problem. It’s hard to win an argument with a crazy person.
At this point, year four of a regime who doesn’t discount defense, but ignores it, I don’t know how to argue it logically any more. It’s nuts to ignore it, but the Mets do. When picking between two players who are offensive clones, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, for first base, the team’s first inclination is to go with the inferior defender. Forget putting a premium on defense, with the Mets it doesn’t even break a tie. The team refutes its existence.
I’m not a huge Stephen Drew fan but now it becomes obvious why the Mets were not going to sign him. Remember, the team was very interested in Jhonny Peralta, a bad defensive shortstop. Paying for a bat intrigued these guys. But one of the positives about Drew is an above average glove. The Mets aren’t going to pay for that, nope, it’s all random, what happens once the ball is put in play. And this is a belief of Mets management that does show a consistent form of madness.
When you look at our current lineup, not only does it include a majority of players who are challenged by balls in play, it also includes a majority of players who cannot put balls in play. There is a nutty irony in this, that the one team that we could defend against is us. Every night our batters strike out over and over, and then those same batters lug their iron gloves out to the field and muff balls put in play by other teams. And the team loses more than it wins, and our stable of young pitching has to work harder than they should just to survive. And, wait. . . .
Sorry, I was trying to argue it again, but there is nothing to discuss. Defense matters, and only a crazy person thinks it doesn’t. An oft repeated quote is, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result.”
Sure, that might apply here, but forget about that, because there is a new definition of loony.
The new definition of insanity is thinking Lucas Duda can play the outfield.