Jerry Manuel Mulls Dropping Jose Reyes from New York Mets' Leadoff Spot

Jason BurkeCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2009

According to recent reports, Jerry Manuel has a new vision for the Mets.  One where the team is put first and the individual is a distant second.  However, he may have the same vision for Jose Reyes when it comes to first and second in the batting order.

In what could be the most surprising move of the spring, Jerry Manuel in his address to the media yesterday, says he is seriously considering hitting Jose Reyes in second or third in the Mets lineup.

When prompted who would leadoff, Manuel said he is mulling whether to give the job to Luis Castillo.  In Manuel's estimation, he feels that Castillo may have more success in that role.

"If we could lead him off, which is probably best for him, it might be something that we'll have to do because it's for him," Manuel said. "We have to give him the best possible chances for success in order to get his year behind him."

Manuel feels that it is all part of the team first philosophy.

"This is not about statistical success. This is about winning as a team, and you have to put people in positions that you feel is best to win as a team," he explains. "Whether that means Jose batting second, third, whatever—first or leading off—you have to accomplish that. And that's a big part of the message throughout spring training: The game takes precedent over individual stats."

Last year, in 87 injury-plagued games, Castillo hit .245 with 17 stolen bases.

If Manuel feels it's best to hit Reyes third in the order, he may bat Carlos Beltran second. 

Whatever he decides, it looks like the Mets will have a lot of different looks this spring.