A New Definition of Insanity

Tejada errorWednesday 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?”

Daniel Murphy error

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.”

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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.

HomelessSign

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 curtis-granderson strikes outchallenged 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.

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15 comments

  1. Ko Kane says:

    Sorry… but this is stupid and forced… REALLY forced:

    Murphy is a poor defender and Tejada is average or a tick below… but other than them:

    Wright is gold glove caliber
    Lagares is all-Universe
    Granderson was an above average CF when younger and should be a well above average corner OF
    Chris Young was an EXCELLENT CF… and STILL IS A GOOD CF… and is an OUTSTANDING corner OF
    and Travis d’Arnaud rated in the top-10 in MLB according to the pitch framing data study all while jumping to the highest level and learning to handle a new staff…

    But… otherwise.. RIGHT ON

    • Eric says:

      How is it forced? This front office and manager have shown no support for All Universe Lagares. If CY wasn’t injured, we would be seeing EYJ in more than half the games. And Terry talks out of both sides of his mouth with Duda. He’s the starting first baseman and will also be playing LF, perhaps simultaneously.

    • Wait, there’s a “pitch framing data study” 9 games into the season and I’ve missed it? Damn, damn, damn.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Thanks for reading. One unanswered question is what happens when Chris Young returns? I agree, he is an above average defender, but that still comes up short versus Lagares. We will see what happens soon enough and see who ends up odd man out.

      Agreed on Wright, but cannot agree on Tejada. He has below average range, a well below average arm, and bad instincts defensively. That adds up to bad, and when you combine that with Murphy and Duda at first you create an atrocious fielding infield.

  2. Eric says:

    “Jose Abreu is basically Thor,” Deadspin editor Tim Marchman tweeted the other day.

    Great, they get the player AND steal nicknames……

  3. The Mets have made huge strides in outfield defense, thanks in large part to Juan Lagares. The infield defense is very poor, extremely weak at SS, 2B, and 1B. And right now, today, Travis d’Arnaud struggles at catcher. I like him, there’s reason for optimism, but it seems like he makes one bad play a game. The sum of that: A very poor fielding infield.

    But here’s the thing: It’s not like the Mets are sacrificing defense for offense! We’re sacrificing both defense and offense. And when that is the case, you have to conclude that some of these players aren’t very good. And yet when you go around the horn, Wright, Tejada, Murphy, Davis/Duda, these are the same guys who’ve been here for Sandy’s entire regime. Nothing has changed. Good job, Sandy!

    Meanwhile, it must be said: Hey, 4 out of the last 6. Two series won. That’s good. This is not a terrible team. The Mets are going to win games. The frustration, at times, is that we could easily be better, win more.

  4. IB says:

    I won’t beat a dead horse, but it’s painful watching Tejada play. I wathced Wright’s reaction to Tejada blowing another DP and it looked like it was painful for him too. Combine that with Duda and it will cost you ballgames and mess with pitcher’s heads.

  5. Reese Kaplan says:

    If that’s the case, James, Wilmer Flores (and Bobby Abreu) have no role here. Neither does Lucas Duda.

    • James Preller says:

      Agree on Duda. With Flores, I don’t honestly know what he can de defensively, though at best I think he’s a second baseman. What will the bat do? I don’t know. No one does. On Abreu, it’s a disappointing turn of e nets . . .

  6. Eraff says:

    Tejada, Duda, Davis—- THAT’S the Batshit Crazy Insanity!!!…. Michael’s just pointing out some of the “Quieter Insanity” that’s playing out.

  7. Raff says:

    And therefore, Michael- I pronounce you GUILTY! Guilty of seeing with your own eyes and you baseball sensibility things which will never will be revealed in STATS…. Your eyes and sensibility which SCREAM OUT when a 5-out inning is recorded by STATS which tell us that the inning in question was quite unremarkable. Your eyes which see runners “holding” at their base instead of challenging a “marksman” in CF are INVSIBLE STATS. Eyes which see Infielders cautiously waiting back and “circling” double play balls and turning them into Fielders Choice STATS… Eyes and experience which see various play in which gap hits were KEPT singles, instead of yielding doubles are Unrecorded STATS. GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY! Shame n you for believing your own eyes.

    • Actually, technically speaking, the defensive metrics are attempting to incorporate those invisible things.

      That is what made Lagares basically the 2nd most valuable player on the Mets last year behind Wright.

      They are fluky though those metrics, imperfect all to be certain.

      To hide a poor defensive player, you need plus defenders around him, not simply average.

      So if the Mets had not only Lagares and Granderson covering lots of ground, perhaps say a shortstop and 2B with plus range and wheels, you could have an ox in LF. But you can’t with Tejada and Murphy.

      It is a further reason I would hope to high heaven that Davis continues to hit and wins out at 1B, because he simply has better range and instinct than Duda, which allows for less blackhole on the rightside.

      Balance, the Mets ain’t got.

      • James Preller says:

        Stats are great, and getting better all the time. The “eye test” is subjective and less reliable. Ideally, you want both.

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