Jerry Manuel is a manager, not a ship captain, but he's got himself a white whale all the same.
The idea of Jose Reyes batting third has consumed the sum total of Manuel's managerial acumen, but making it happen has eluded him for a variety of reasons over the years. The harpoon has remained in the harness, however, and he's getting a chance to let it fly against the Braves this weekend.
Reyes is going to move to third spot in the lineup, although, ironically enough, it doesn't have much of anything to do with Reyes. The idea is to get Jason Bay, the well-paid black hole in the middle of the Mets lineup, more fastballs to hit because Reyes will be on base in front of him.
It's not an idea totally without merit, although one must ask why Reyes being on first base would dramatically change Bay's performance when David Wright being on base hasn't done him a lick of good.
Reyes's speed would likely be the answer to that question, which leads to the question of why Reyes will benefit from having Angel Pagan and Luis Castillo hitting in front of him. It would seem to make more sense to move Bay to the second slot with Wright, Ike Davis and Jeff Francoeur behind him so that everyone in the lineup would benefit from shaking up the lineup by batting more often in each game. It would obviously leave you with a soft underbelly but, let's be honest here, the Mets are always going to have a soft spot or three in their lineup.
Of the available options, this is probably as good as any other in terms of juicing up the production. The Davis promotion worked out well, so maybe the Mets have hit on a formula for keeping karma on their side.
Generally speaking, it doesn't do much good to argue against a man's fatalistic desires. Manuel is driving this ship and this is the move he's been dying to make since taking over so the rationale espoused for it doesn't matter all that much. What will matter is if the move doesn't wind up getting the offense going as the Mets start edging to the point where it's harder to write things off as just getting off to a bad start.
If the new lineup fails, it will wind up hurting Manuel more than anyone else. It could even wind up dragging him down into the cold abyss which, when you think about it, is where any good obsession with a white whale should wind up taking you.