SS – Jose Reyes
LF – Angel Pagan
3B – David Wright
CF – Carlos Beltran
RF – Jeff Francoeur
1B – Mike Hessman
C – Henry Blanco
2B – Luis Castillo
P – Jon Niese
OK, look: I know the Mets are facing a lefty. And I know Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Fernando Martinez don’t hit lefties well. But you want them to someday, right? I mean, that’s the idea, I think.
Resting Thole is fine because he started the last couple of days and he’s a catcher. He should play like a starting catcher from here on out — not strictly like the left-handed part of the platoon — even with Rod Barajas’ impending return. Not only should the Mets want to audition Thole for the full-time job in 2011, but it’s becoming pretty clear he’s their best option for the role anyway.
Resting Davis, Martinez and Ruben Tejada makes almost no sense. The only possibility that would make it excusable is if Davis is hurting and no one’s saying anything. Otherwise, it’s awful. Ike Davis is supposed to be a huge cog in the Mets’ future. And now you’re platooning him with Mike Hessman? What? I like Hessman as much as the next day, but you’ve got to give Ike chances to learn against lefties, especially in what’s looking like a lost season.
And if Martinez and Tejada are going to be here, they should be playing. Neither is really ready to be in the big leagues. You can’t rush players up to sit on the bench. That’s terrible.
What this looks like — and I have no inside information whatsoever, this is just guesswork — is Jerry Manuel making a last ditch effort to hold onto his job, to hell with the front-office’s effort at a youth movement. Because yeah, against lefties it’s possible Hessman, Francoeur, Castillo and Blanco actually do give the Mets a better chance at winning. It just doesn’t help them win anything in 2011.
So my completely uninformed guess would be that Manuel’s thinking he can’t get canned if the team is winning, so he’s trying everything he can do to eek out some wins. But you’d think the front office could pretty easily take care of that problem by either instructing him to play the rookies, assuring him that his job is safe, or firing him and getting it over with.