Well, if John Harper of the Daily News has his way, perhaps. Harper suggested in an article yesterday that the Mets would be better off starting Fernando and pushing Angel Pagan to the bench. This idea could not be dumber.
Harper prefaces his suggestion by pointing out to us that Angel Pagan made a mistake in Thursday's exhibition against the Red Sox. He continues:
When I later asked another Mets player about it, he tapped a finger against his head and walked away. Enough said.Yes, Pagan caught the ball in a bad position to throw. But let's not lose our heads here - it was one play in a spring training game. Who knows why it happened?
For that matter, we saw enough of Pagan's baserunning adventures last season to know that no amount of coaching is going to keep him from making costly mistakes at times.
The point is, now that Jose Reyes is apparently going to join Beltran on the disabled list to start the season, the Mets need to rethink their options. Specifically they need to think about a way to make their lineup more dynamic, as well as less prone to the mistakes that were killing them last season even before all the injuries.
Most important is the development of Fernando Martinez. Now, you are not likely to find many people who like Fernando more than I do. I am a huge fan, and I think he's got a chance to be very special. However, we wouldn't be doing him any favors by throwing him into center field at this stage in his career and demanding that he swim.
He crushed Triple-A last year, but his plate discipline needed work. He did well in the Dominican Series (as Harper points out, winning MVP honors), but struggled in the regular season. He's been excellent thus far in spring training, but it's only been a handful of at-bats. He's a rare talent in that he made it to the major leagues last year, but in his time here he only hit .176.
He needs more time to refine his game - most importantly, his plate discipline. We know he's strong, and he can hit, and if healthy he will probably be good for 40+ doubles a year. But the fact of the matter here is that he's only 21 years old, he's played only 69 games above Double-A, and he's never posted an ob-base percentage above .340 at ANY full season minor league stop.
Angel Pagan is the best player to start for the Mets in center field while Beltran is out. This is especially true in light of the fact that Fernando Martinez could probably use more time in Triple-A to take the next step.
Sure, Angel has some flaws. He'll make some mistakes. But let's please not listen to the Harper's of the world and throw the baby out with the bathwater. Angel Pagan is a fine hitter and a great defender - and for every mental mistake he makes, he'll make five GOOD plays that another player would fail to. Let's deal with Angel for now. And who knows? Perhaps he plays his way into a starting role, or he becomes a valuable trade commodity later in the season.
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 An unscientific poll of the commenters over at the Daily News show that people love the idea of promoting Fernando Martinez immediately. That is not good.
 For some reason, the URL of the Harper article does not match up with the title it was given on the website. The URL, hilariously, is actually this:
A marvelous idea!