By: Belinda Smith

Thanksgiving Musings: David’s Goliath

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“The phrase “David and Goliath” has taken on a more secular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.” (Source:  Wikipedia)

I sit here on Thanksgiving in the afternoon, in the quiet before family arrives.  We don’t do turkey in my house for a reason:  I make terrible turkey.  You may as well sprinkle salt and pepper on a basketball and have that instead.  And as my niece reminded me several years ago, this is the United States of America:  you don’t have to have turkey on Thanksgiving.  But I digress.

Aside from no turkey in my house on Thanksgiving, what surprises are in store for us and for David Wright in 2017?  Nobody knows for sure.  But what we do know is this:  David Wright is coming off his worst two seasons in his professional career.  David is 33 years old and will turn 34 on December 20.  He is definitely on the other side of the rainbow when it comes to professional baseball players, that is certain.

Offensively, his numbers last year are brutal:  .226 average, 7 homeruns, 14 RBI, .788 OPP and only 37 games played before he went on the disabled list, never to return in 2016.  He had the neck surgery in June and met with the media in early July, wearing a neck bandage.  He looked a bit thin to me, but what do I know.  He returned for a few games last season, occasionally sitting in the bullpen.  The dudes in the booth on SNY opined that it’s better for him to sit in the bullpen in the event a foul ball makes its way into the dugout.  His reflexes are slow and he has to wear a brace.  The pain must be excruciating.

How has David’s perspective changed post-spinal stenosis and post-neck surgery, I wonder.  I watched the SNY Hot Stove report this week and they talked about how his back issues – which affects his shoulder, which then, in turn, affects his ability to throw, hit and bat.  They showed clips of him throwing from third pre-spinal stenosis and post and there was a clear and marked difference in how he throws.  He’s not as fast coming off of third and he’s lost some velocity on his throws to first base.  That extra lost second or two can be critical in a tight game.  And to play third, one must be agile, quick, almost acrobatic.  Think Ron Santo.  Mike Schmidt.  Brooks Robinson.  Defensive ability for a third baseman is paramount; also being able to hit is win-win.

Granted, the Mets went and got help when David went down and brought back Jose Reyes.  Jose has always been a catalyst and was clearly happy to return home to Citi Field, playing a solid third base, appearing in 60 games and hitting a respectable .267.  Cabrera and the newly re-signed Neil Walker made for pitch-perfect defense at short and second with James Loney – filling in for injured Lucas Duda – at first.  And of course, there is Wilmer Flores waiting, ready and able.

The guys on this week Hot Stove report indicated that “the end is coming eventually” for David Wright.  This is true.  David himself even acknowledged this himself during several meetings with the media.  I’m not even sure if he is, at this writing, participating in any baseball-related activities.  Best case scenario:  David is able to play 65 or so games, platooning with Reyes at third.  If he can play his position well, hit in the .260 ballpark, and contribute 15 homeruns or so homeruns and 50 RBI’s, I for one would be a happy girl.  Stay tuned.  Happy Thanksgiving.

About Belinda Smith

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