The New York Mets acquired Collin Cowgill on December 18th, 2012 from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for farmhand Jefry Marte.
He was designated for assignment after the New York Mets’ victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
The Kentucky native was acquired to breathe life into an ominous outfield situation that saw several open competitions in spring training. Ultimately, Cowgill’s hard work and gritty style of play earned him the distinction of being the club’s opening day center fielder. He was given all of 12 plate appearances before being denied further opportunities.
Cowgill was demoted to Las Vegas after 52 plate appearances and an abysmal .157/.173/.294 slash. To anoint that he was extremely successful in the role would be a blind assertion, but to assert that he was never given a fair chance would be correct. In lieu of Ike Davis slumping through a .161/.242/.258 clip through 200 plate appearances and Jordany Valdespin posting a .163/.217/.186 clip over his last 46 plate appearances, why not give Cowgill the opportunity to succeed? If the organization wasn’t intending on giving him a prolonged big league sample, why choose to bring him in at all, or position him in a starting role when there was no pressure to do so.
The ethics of the situation are strange and the organization is now blundered with double standards. Davis being allowed to slump and try to work out his kinks at the big league level is one thing -nobody is denying his overall ceiling is higher than Cowgill’s-, but when role players like Valdespin, who have struggled immensely, show mental lapses, and have been demonized by both the media and club, are given opportunities over a player that is a prototype for the organization is downright staggering.
Cowgill was recalled days after Kirk Nieuwenhuis -who has struck out in more than 33% of his big league at bats this year- and was given one plate appearance in his first six days with the club and succeeding by lining a double and scoring a run. Today, he was given the opportunity to leadoff and play left field and produced more in game two of the day-night twin bill by recording two hits than Valdespin did in his previous five starts. Cowgill was more selective at the plate, had cut down his strikeouts, and was ultimately never given the opportunity to succeed with the New York Mets.
Cowgill has been designated for assignment and may remain with the organization if he clears waivers, but it’s evident that the team has no plans to give him a prolonged look. It’s a shame that a player with high upside has been replaced after a successful day and a relatively successful sample size in Oakland last year, but perhaps he’ll get a greater opportunity with another organization.
Photo Credit: Michael Baron