A reader poses the question, "Why do we say nothing about TJ Rivera?" (assuming in reference to possible options at 3B for the Mets).
I've written quite a bit about the man who does nothing but hit at every level he's played. TJ Rivera could certainly help the all-or-nothing (and mostly nothing) offense of the Mets. He's a contact hitter who, for the first time in his career is being put into an RBI slot in the batting order which is somewhat unusual given his dearth of power. He's responding well while hitting .363 with 7 HRs and 52 RBIs. The RBI number is enticing even more so than the batting average which many will write off as a side effect of the Pacific Coast League's notoriously hitter friendly environment. He was second on the team in hitting behind Ty Kelly (recently promoted in place of Juan Lagares). That should show you that minor league stats have to be taken with a grain, if not a whole silo, of salt. For further evidence, consider the AAA exploits of people like Eric Campbell and Kirk Nieuwenhuis who proved that there is indeed a big difference between AAA and the majors.
However, at the same time you have to wonder when you have guys like Kelly Johnson who is a career .250 hitter (the very essence of a replacement level player) getting chances ahead of someone with the potential to be better. While it's clear the manager has a strong preference for mediocre veterans over rookies, apparently so too does the GM. It's a timid approach which says, "If a veteran fails to produce, it's a tough week for him" whereas when a rookie fails to perform he's written off as unable. They will point to the track records of a guy like Johnson as evidence of what he's capable of doing despite having seen up close last year he delivered his career average .250. It's that same type of lazy, cowardly approach that leads to the acquisition of guys like James Loney who couldn't make the roster of not one but two last place teams. He's also coincidentally hitting .250 without power. I'd have to think that give a fair trial (not just one start or 10 ABs in a month) that a TJ Rivera could have delivered at least as much or more than these replacement level players. Now it appears that Johnson will mercifully be relegated to a bench role unless still more injuries occur, but Loney is out there every day ineffectually trying to replace a 30 HR hitter. Slugger Travis Taijeron is in the same boat.
What's even more annoying is the refusal to put David Wright and Lucas Duda on the 60-day DL which would open up two spots on the 40-man roster.