Has Ryan Church Become the Forgotten Man?

Michael GanciCorrespondent IJune 4, 2009

Last year, when the Mets acquired Ryan Church and Brian Schneider in exchange for Lastings Milledge, I was one of the people who was ecstatic about the deal. Church was always a guy who was underutilized during his time in Washington, and Schneider is the excellent defensive catcher that we have been looking for the past couple of years.

But unfortunately for Church, things haven’t panned out

It all started last season. Church was essentially handed the starting right fielder job, and he started the season on fire. When Church suffered his first concussion, it all seemed to go downhill.

He was dying to get back on the field, and he was handled terribly by the Mets and their training staff. When Church finally got back on the field, he wasn’t ready, and unfortunately, he made things worse.

Church continued to have setback after setback, and all of a sudden, the year had come and gone, and the Mets were sadly disappointed. Church came into this season motivated, but things didn’t seem to click at the beginning of the season, and then he was shelved with an injury.

Before the injury, it often seemed like Church was the odd man out. He was pretty adamant about wanting to play more, and that didn’t bode well for Jerry Manuel.

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Church was in the doghouse, and many believe that he still is.

This leads us to an interesting question: What is going to happen when Church is expected to come off of the disabled list this Sunday?

Personally, I would be an advocate of sending the young Fernando Martinez down to the minors. They need him to get more seasoning in Triple A.

It has been a pleasure to see him get some exposure to the Major League Level, but it is clear to me that he is not ready yet. At 20 years old, the Mets shouldn’t be in any rush with him.

Plus, Ryan Church could be the guy that they need now more than ever.

But what happens if Church isn’t successful? There are several possibilities.

First of all, the Mets might try to just ride him out and see what they get. Another option could be for Church to ride the bench. But the third, and I think a likely option if Church struggles, is for Ryan to get dealt for some pitching or young talent.

It should be interesting to see how the story of Ryan Church continues in New York. It would be very nice to see him succeed so he can make Jerry’s decisions very easy.