Nieuwenheis Up, Ceciliani Down?
When Kirk Nieuwenheis came into the 2015 season for the New York Mets, he had a hot Spring Training, batting .322 with 19 hits in 52 at-bats. In fact, to give him an open roster spot, they traded Matt den Dekker to Washington to open up the fourth outfielder position. Since Nieuwenheis had no options left to go to Triple-A, this was a golden opportunity for him to make the absolute most out of a chance to become a full fledged member of the Blue and Orange Brigade.
Instead, Nieuwenheis underperformed on the big league club. In 27 games in mainly a pinch hitting role, he only hit .079 with THREE hits in 38 at-bats and two walks. It was an absolutely dismal beginning of a season for a player coming through April and the early part of May.
On May 19, 2015, Nieuwenheis was Designated for Assignment by the Mets and was subsequently was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim eight days later for cash considerations. Unbelievably, Nieuwenheis was released less than three weeks later by the Angels and the Mets picked him back up off waivers on June 13 and immediately sent him down to Las Vegas for their Triple-A affiliate, the 51’s.
The same day Nieuwenheis was DFA’d, General Manager Sandy Alderson decided to promote a new young outfielder into the mix to fight for a Major League job named Darrell Ceciliani. Ceciliani, who was signed by the Mets out of the MLB draft in 2009, was a guy that showed immense potential throughout the Amazins’ farm system, and by the time he was called up from Vegas, he was batting .337 in 37 games for the 51’s. Although the dry atmosphere in Nevada helped inflate some batting averages, Ceciliani seemed like a solid fit for the ballclub.
For the most part, Ceciliani made the most of his opportunity in Queens. Although he was batting .209 and had 25 strikeouts in 68 at-bats, #1 made himself a very gritty ballplayer. He made sure to get solid contact with the bat every time he put a ball in play. His hustle got him five steals in six chances. Ceciliani was very versatile in the outfield, playing all three positions. On a ballclub with many disappointments throughout this season either through the injury bug or at the plate, you couldn’t deny Ceciliani attempting to make a chance for himself. He most definitely should have had an opportunity to last through the summer with the big league club.
However, on July 6, 2015, Ceciliani was sent down to Las Vegas, while Nieuwenheis was brought back up to the Mets in an out-of-nowhere roster move. Also, Nieuwenheis was added back to the 40-Man roster. I immediately started in with a tweet that showcased my frustration.
— Jon Harder (@TheJonHarder) July 6, 2015
I’m against it. No disrespect to Kirk Nieuwenheis, but as a player this season, he has been proven to be ineffective for two ball clubs. Bringing him back up and not allowing Darrell Ceciliani to work his way into some hits as the fourth outfielder is, to me, an asinine maneuver. Sometimes, a team needs a jolt to be helped out offensively; I truly feel Nieuwenheis is a mere tremor, while Ceciliani was more versatile and proved that, even with a .209 average.
Although I ultimately realize my #CecilianiPosse hashtag in my tweet is in vain, I am a believer in Darrell Ceciliani. I hope, as a stickler for the minute details in baseball that gets overlooked by the casual fan, he gets back up here before the end of the season. The club needs his grit and hustle off the bench. It is just an unfair demotion, in my humble opinion.
Until then, let’s just hope “Captain Kirk” comes through in the situations the Mets need him for in his second stint with the club in 2015. They will need it. I just don’t agree with it.