Terry Collins and Luis Hernandez vs. The World

Luis Hernandez

Luis Hernandez: Making The Same Face I Made When I Heard This News

I’d like to say “thanks” to the inimitable Rob Neyer for passing along this knowledge, but really, I wish I’d never read it. From Mike Puma at the New York Post:

“…manager Terry Collins is preparing to name Luis Hernandez the starter at second base…”

For the record, in a previous post, I posited that Luis Hernandez was probably the EIGHTH-best choice for Mets second-baseman this year. #8 out of 11. Just, you know, for the record.

It’s things like this that make me furious with Spring Training. Coming into the season, every bit of evidence (scouting and statistical) tells the educated fan that Luis Hernandez is NOT a major-league-quality starting second baseman. His career major league wOBA? .265. Power in the minors and majors? Low. Ability to get on base? Not great – try a BB% of 4.8 in the majors. Fielding ability? His UZR/150 in the majors last year was bad (-7.3) at 2B. But it was also worse at every other stop in his career. Is he a year older than Daniel Murphy and *two* years older than Brad Emaus? Absolutely.

Basically, I’d like to know the criteria for Collins’s decision. Is it fielding? If so, there’s no question Chin-lung Hu is a better fielder…plus Hu has a better track record of hitting. Is it offensive? Because Hernandez is, by all accounts, the worst hitter of the players up for the position? Is it experience? Because Luis Castillo, as problematic as he is, offers experience AND is a more viable candidate offensively, simply because he can take a walk? Is it because he’s a switch-hitter? Being a switch-hitter doesn’t matter if you can’t hit (or get on base) from either side of the plate!

Worst of all, there’s still time to make a decision. Who says that the manager has to decide on the starting baseman two weeks before the season starts? Especially when you have players on the team (like Hernandez and Emaus) who either HAVE to make the team, or are going to be offered for free to other clubs.

If this is gamesmanship to get Murphy, Turner, or Emaus to step up their games, I honestly worry for the short-term future of the franchise. I find it hard to believe that the members of the second base competition aren’t already putting forth their best effort. They all know that their careers depend on it, and they are all professionals. No one appears to be dogging it from reading reports, or watching ST games.

If Terry Collins gets what he wants, and the Mets have to waste a 25-man roster spot on a guy who doesn’t have much of a future with the franchise, it is also a bad omen for the future of the front office. With the current financial straits that the team is in, the team can’t afford to make inefficient decisions and discard players with potential over players who are what they are…when what they are isn’t very good.

(As a postscript, it’s generally not a good idea to add a guy the Royals have given up on. If the Royals have given up on him…chances are he’s not very good. Apologies to Dan Cortes.)


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