At the start of spring training, the two major areas of concern for the New York Mets -- read: expected to be answered through spring training play -- were the back-end of the rotation and the second base job.
It's mid-March now and the final two sports of the rotation seem to be just about locked up -- and the two frontrunners at the start of camp appear to have the edge now: Chris Young and Chris Capuano. The second base job was up for grabs as well because of Luis Castillo's declining offensive production, injury woes and limited range -- and it was expected to be a four-man race in camp between Castillo, Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Justin Turner.
However, after a several weeks of action, the reviews of the aforementioned second base candidates have really been anything but positive.
Luis Castillo is 7-for-22 this spring: .318/.400/.318 with two runs and two RBI.
Justin Turner is 5-for-25 this spring: .200/.231/.240 with four runs and two RBI.
Daniel Murphy is 10-for 33 this spring: .303/.324/.455 with four runs and six RBI.
Brad Emaus is 4-for-20: .200/.304/.200 with two runs and zero RBI.
According to a report by Mike Puma in the New York Post, the man who has to insert one of these guys in his lineup, Terry Collins, is not thrilled with any of Jose Reyes' potential double-play partners and it has opened the door for Collins to name someone whom nobody even considered months ago: Luis Hernandez.
A source tells Puma that while Castillo is hitting the ball well, the team isn't a fan of his waning range; the team doesn't really see Murphy as an everyday 2B (because of his defensive shortcomings); and they are not "convinced" that Emaus and Turner are "major-league players." Collins will name Hernandez the second basemen however, "the move will be contingent upon Collins convincing the front office to find a roster spot for Hernandez."
The Mets would have to offer Emaus back to the Blue Jays if he is not on their 25-man roster, while Murphy is viewed as a solid lefty bat off the bench/utility player. It would also mean Castillo would be released. Thus, if it is truly Hernandez that Collins will name, the organization would have to decide between keeping Emaus or Murphy.
ESPN NY's Adam Rubin also had a report out last night that said Collins is not a fan of Castillo and he's "trying to limit the drama around the 2011 Mets. And not having Castillo around potentially helps that cause."
Hernandez, 26, as the 2B is somewhat shocking because while he has a very good glove, it appeared that the team was looking for more offense from their second baseman this year, and Hernandez has the weakest bat of the bunch. In 3026 minor-league at bats, he has batted just .255/.302/.331-- and has just 265 AB's in the majors between Baltimore, Kansas City and New York: .245/.286/.298. He played in 17 games last season with the Mets, 44 AB's and batted .250/.298/.409. This spring, Hernandez has only 12 AB's and he's gotten five hits: .417/.462/.583.
|2010 - Luis Hernandez||.250||.298||.409|