"I can tell you right now, I've got it already penciled in who's playing shortstop the rest of this week," he said. "There's no reason why you can't get through the year with two guys getting opportunities to play."
In the wake of free-agent SS Stephen Drew re-signing with the Red Sox on Tuesday, Sandy Alderson and Collins both talked up shortstops Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada.
"What we have to do is make sure that we have the long-term in mind," Alderson said, saying he never considered meeting Drew's demands. "We have to make sure that we give some of our young players a chance to realize whatever potential they have."
In regards to balancing the long-term with the short-term goal of winning today, Collins said (Newsday, May 20), "It's hard. It's very hard."
In the 11 games since joining the Mets on May 9, the 22-year-old Flores has started just four times at shortstop, during which Tejada is batting .185 with seven starts. Flores is batting .222 in 21 plate appearances.
“I know I can play it, I just need to show them,” Flores said Tuesday (NY Post, May 21). “It’s definitely hard. I’ve never been through this, playing, then not playing. I just have got to get used to it.”
This isn't being handled well and I don't know who is to blame. The problem is clear, though: The manager isn't confident in what he's doing and why, and the players have no idea what their future holds. I assume this falls on Alderson, who, at the very least, needs to set a more clear goal for Collins. Or, in the event he's done that, Collins needs more direction or information about how to fill out his lineup card, which can he helped out by his coaches, communication and confidence in his players.
Or, maybe Collins just needs better players. Because, in the end, it may not be a matter of strategy or goals or directives, it may just be that Tejada and Flores are not very good and who plays when and why will not really matter. If that's the case, the blame falls on ownership and Alderson to provide Collins with a roster of talent equal to the size of their goals. The point is, this situation (as well as the one in center field, and soon, the rotation) reads like an organization of people who may not all be on the same page, and that is rarely good for business.