The New York Mets lose again. This has been the story of the month for the Mets, losers of 6 of their last 7. The Mets are a Major League worst 5-14 in May, and, assuming the game is played with the weather in the Tri-State area, tonight’s game doesn’t look too promising, with Zack Greinke starting for the Dodgers.
One highlight of last night’s heart-wrenching 4-3 loss was the first career home run for Eric Campbell. The 27 year-old Campbell has been extremely productive for the Mets since being called up on May 10, collecting a hit or RBI in every game he’s played. Campbell has now started 2 of the last 4 games at first base and, after last night’s game, Terry Collins even speculated that he might start playing at the corner outfield positions.
All I have to say to that is: NO!
Terry Collins has done a completely dissatisfactory job at managing platoons this season. A manager simply cannot name a player a starter, start him for a week, and then sit him down for a few days when he doesn’t perform well. It didn’t work with Lucas Duda and Ike Davis, and it won’t work with Duda and Eric Campbell. Collins nearly got run out of town with the way he handled the Duda/Davis fiasco, and now it seems like he is trying it again. While Campbell’s righthandedness makes for an obvious contrast of the Duda/Davis situation, it would still be a mistake to not have a full-time starting first baseman. A decision must be made, and it must be made soon.
Duda is still only 28 years old. He has a lot of playing time left in his career, but it seems like Collins hates to play him. Since Davis was traded on April 18 and Duda effectively became the full-time starter, the most games Duda has started in a row is six. The most games he has started in a row in May is five. At this point, Collins and the Mets need to give Duda a vote of confidence. Let him start for two weeks straight and see how he fairs. Let him get into a rhythm, something he hasn’t been able to do all season. The Mets won’t look any worse than they have with their .263 winning percentage in May.
Now, for the possibility of Eric Campbell’s climb to the already log-jammed outfield in Queens. Again, to that I say: NO!
I’m not saying this because I don’t like Eric Campbell. I like what he’s done with his 16 at-bats in his limited big league career. Since the beginning of last season, he has been tearing the cover off the ball in Triple-A Las Vegas. He absolutely belongs on the big league club.
However, he’s a 27 year-old player without a position who’s been in the minor leagues for the last six seasons. It doesn’t seem like a guy like that should be getting promoted to the Major Leagues and be taking time from your every day first baseman and outfielders. Sure, he deserves a start every now and then. Maybe once a week. But if Eric Campbell begins to start for the Mets three or four times a week, I think Terry Collins is making a huge mistake. Do not add a fifth outfielder into an already-packed four man outfield rotation. The argument that every Mets fan has had at least 45 times this year that goes “Which of the outfielders should be starting today?” deserves its own post on another day. For now, I’ll just say that Eric Campbell doesn’t belong in that conversation. Only six of his thirty-three starts in Triple-A have come in the outfield. Starting Eric Campbell would mean sacrificing fantastic outfield defense, perhaps the Mets’ best attribute this season.
If Terry Collins ultimately decides to play Eric Campbell on more of an everyday basis, I will be rooting my heart out for him. I hope he takes his chance and runs with it. I simply don’t think that having Eric Campbell start on this team is the right decision to make right now.