(To Get An All Star You Have To Give Up Something. Zack Wheeler May Be It. Photo: Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
Generally, when you get a new toy as a gift, you want to play with it immediately.
Not Terry Collins.
Uncle Sandy Alderson wrapped a bow on a nice new third baseman in Jose Uribe and what does Collins do? Keeps him on the bench.
But that doesn’t mean that Uribe or Kelly Johnson will be kept under wraps. If they hit, they will play.
“I’ve got to be careful. I know you guys,” Collins said. “And if I say Ruben [Tejada] is the shortstop, and I play Wilmer [Flores] there tomorrow, the sky is falling. So I’m not going to say that. I’m just telling you day after day, we’re going to put the people out there who we think are the right guys. If somebody gets in a slump and Kelly Johnson is swinging the bat, I’m going to get him in there. If Juan Uribe, when we get him in the lineup, if he starts tearing it up, he’s going to play.
“We have not scored. We have not hit. We went out and got two guys who we think have added some offense to us. I’m not going to leave them sitting on the bench. If they’re going to bring more offense than what we’ve got, they’re going to get in there somewhere.”
So don’t worry Met fans, there will be plenty of playing time here for the new guys and that includes Michael Conforto, who is also part of this meritocracy. If Conforto hits, he’s going to play, but he may have a wider berth than the other infielders.
That being said, Sandy Alderson is not done yet. The general manager is looking for the big fish by next Friday’s trade deadline. He knows this lineup can use a big bat down the stretch.
“We continue to look at all of the possibilities, and how those different possibilities would fit with where we are right now,” Alderson said Saturday afternoon. “The fact that we have several days means there are other things to be examined, explored. It doesn’t mean we’ll do anything else, but we’re certainly continuing to look.”
Alderson is also stepping up to the plate here. A report yesterday said that the general manager is willing to trade Zack Wheeler in the right deal. The righthander, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, may be a perfect chip to bring the club that big name bat it has been craving.
Because he’s rehabbing right now, Wheeler won’t be on the Citi Field mound for probably another year. And then, what kind of pitcher will you be getting? As we have seen with Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell, Tommy John is a process, which has its ups and downs. And since he struggled with his control before the injury, Wheeler may have control problems when he comes back.
So expect righty to be less than 100 percent next year and maybe back to normal in 2017. For the Mets, whose future is now, this isn’t an ideal situation. But for a rebuilding team, it may be a perfect scenario to get a No. 1 starter when it’s time to contend.
And it doesn’t hurt the Mets either. Their rotation is set with Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Jon Niese next year. Wheeler is a luxury and with Michael Fulmer and Gabriel Ynoa next in line, he is definitely expendable.
So the pieces are in place and if the purse-strings are opening, Alderson has a perfect opportunity to bring in a game changer, who will carry this team into October.
All Collins has to do is play him from Day 1.