Outfielder Chris Young is on track to return to New York Mets when they begin their next homestand against the Atlanta Braves on Friday. He seems to be fully recovered from the quad strain that landed him on the disabled list a couple of weeks ago, and he’s hitting. He went 5 -for-5 in a rehab start for the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League on Sunday.
In addition to creating a logjam in the outfield, Young’s return also forces the Mets to decide who will be shipped out to make room for him. There’s an obvious choice, but let’s think outside the box for a moment.
Andrew Brown is a right-handed hitting outfielder. He got the start on Opening Day in Young’s absence and hit a three-run homer. Since then, he hasn’t played much, save for a couple of DH starts against the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. He’s hitting only .143/.250/.357 in 16 plate appearances. He’s the obvious candidate to be sent to Triple-A.
But the Mets could also use this roster move to address the logjam at first base. Currently, Lucas Duda is still expected to play most games at first base against right-handed pitchers. That relegates Ike Davis to a pinch-hitting/spot-starting role. That lack of playing time could negatively affect Davis, who has shown he needs regular playing time to get in a groove, not unlike most hitters with a long swing. Since his big weekend against the Cincinnati Reds, he’s gone 0-for-11. So, if he’s not playing, why not give him regular at-bats at Triple-A Las Vegas?
If Davis rakes in the minors, he and the Mets would benefit in two ways. First, if Duda falters as the Mets’ starting first baseman, Davis could take his place. Second, if Duda proves he can handle the everyday first base job, then both Davis and Duda suddenly have trade value. They can flip either one of them for another organizational need.
Of course, if neither one of them produce, then the Mets are in deep trouble at first base, but what benefit does keeping Davis on the bench in the major leagues provide? Yes, it seems like every year the subject of demoting Davis bubbles up. But sending him to Triple-A when Chris Young returns could be the right move right now for the Mets.