Mets veteran outfielder frustrated with playing time

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets, harrison bader
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets lineup has gone through multiple iterations during the early portion of the season.

From losing players to injuries and needing to find playing time for J.D. Martinez, some of the blue and orange’s hitters have been lost in the shuffle.

One of those players expressed his frustrations about his lack of playing time to the media before Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mets’ Harrison Bader is upset with his playing time

After beginning the year as the Mets’ starting center fielder, Harrison Bader switched to a rotational role and has started just four of the team’s last eight games, which has been a struggle for him. 

“I don’t handle it well, I can tell you that,” Bader said before the Mets’ 7-5 win yesterday. “But I certainly don’t let it affect the way I prepare, the way I keep focused when I do get an opportunity to go in there and play, even if it’s later in the game. If anything, it lights more of a fire under my ass. I’m bothered by it, for sure. But I respect what they view as giving us an opportunity to win, and at the same time, whether my name is in there or not, I prepare to play every single day of the season.”

Bader has put up solid numbers this season, slashing .280/.314/.340 across 30 games with one home run and seven RBIs while continuing to play stellar defense.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets, harrison bader
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Why is Bader not getting the same amount of playing time?

Bader’s lack of playing time relates more to Carlos Mendoza’s managerial philosophy than his production.

“It’s not that Bader is doing anything — you could make a case for all three of them,” Mendoza said last weekend while referring to Tyrone Taylor and D.J. Stewart. “It’s good to have that healthy competition because, at the end of the day, I’m using all 26 guys on the roster.”

Taylor has shined in his limited playing time, slashing .288/.312/.425 across 73 at-bats, alongside two home runs and 13 RBIs.

Stewart struggled to start the campaign, but his slugging ability has kept him on the roster and in the lineup. Across 65 at-bats, the 30-year-old has slashed .185/.365/.415 with a .780 OPS alongside four home runs and 16 RBIs.

Time will tell if Bader finds his name written in the lineup card more often, but for the time being, he will have to continue to adjust to being a rotational bat rather than an everyday starter.

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