Kirk Nieuwenhuis Called Up
Well that didn’t take long … Captain Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been beamed up from Buffalo to take over the roster spot vacated by non-vulcan Andres Torres.
Terry Collins has suggested that Nieuwenhuis will be used in a platoon situation, which makes zero sense to me.
On platooning…brilliant. Center field now. Left field when Torres comes back fully healthy. Baxter is the man on the bubble.
Terrry developed these kids.
Unfortunately, and due to the high salary structures, platooning has lost its status as a legitimate managerial tool. A quick look at the best teams in Mets history reveals some very effective platoons. In the 1969 championship season, there were four—Kranepool/Clendenon, Boswell/Weis, Garrett/Charles, Shamsky/Swoboda, (and to a lesser, but still effective, extent—Grote/Martin). Gil Hodges was a huge proponent of platooning and used it extremely effectively throughout his managerial career. In 1973, Yogi Berra was forced to platoon players in less than classic fashion due to a rash of injuries and poor performances. Berra learned how to platoon and shuffle from Casey Stengel, who never played a game without his “man” (Yogi). Berra often played LF, RF, 3B and 1B when he wasn’t behind the dish. In 1986, Davey Johnson effectively platooned Backman/Teufel and Dykstra/Wilson. More effective platoons were implemented by Bobby Valentine in the outfield in those well-managed 1998-2000 teams. Fact is, in all of those winning Mets teams, there were substantial lineup deficits mitigated by platooning. Instituting a platoon in CF or LF will not make the Mets worse. If anything, it will make them better and more versatile.
So long as the Captain shows he can handle the load, he should be the starter. Maybe play Hairston against a real tough lefty. Collins may feel compelled to play Hariston against lefties since Murph, Ike, and the Dude are more likely to play, and they need some righty bats.