By: Fred Aaron

Mets Mystery: What’s on Second?

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Since coming over from the Pirates with Vic Black in a trade for Marlon Byrd and John Buck in 2013, Dilson Herrera had been tabbed as the Mets’ second baseman of the future. That future ended on Aug. 1, when the Mets made Herrera the centerpiece of a trade with the Reds for slugger Jay Bruce. Now that Herrera is in Cincinnati, the question arises: What’s on Second?

Prior to this season, the Mets second baseman was a guy named Daniel Murphy since 2012, when he returned to the Majors after learning the position in AAA. Much ink has been spilled since January 6, when Murphy signed with the Nationals, over whether the Mets made a mistake allowing Murphy to leave. That’s a subject for another time and article. However, when Murphy left, the Mets had already acquired Neil Walker who was in his “walk” year (pun intended), with the idea that he would keep the position warm until Dilson Herrera was ready. Walker is still on the team and is among the leaders in several offensive categories while playing a steady second base. Beyond this year, it is unclear if Walker will stay or go.

Let’s assume for the moment that Walker decides to sign for a more lucrative package than he is offered by the Mets. Who will be the second baseman entering the 2017 season? Wilmer Flores had played some second. But he has yet to show sustained offensive production to compensate for his decided lack of range. Also, Wilmer may be the starting third baseman next season if David Wright is unable to come back from spinal stenosis and a herniated disk. That leaves a number of unproven minor leaguers. Mark Reynolds has shown he can play solid defense, but will he hit enough to justify playing him at second base? Asdrubal Cabrera is signed for next year and has played second in his career. But if super prospect Ahmed Rosario isn’t ready to assume short next season, the Mets may need another year at short from Asdrubal (Rosario will be 21 on Opening Day 2017).

Another option might be former first round pick Gavin Cecchini, but he has only played shortstop in the minors. A final option may be Jose Reyes, whom the Mets hold an option for 2017. Reyes does bring speed to the table. However, Jose has only played 43 games at second, all in the 2004 season which is best forgotten. Reyes was moved to second to make room for “shortstop” Kaz Matsui. Kaz showed Wilmeresque range at short while Reyes injured his hamstring playing second, many think as a result of playing an unfamiliar position.

Following the 2016 season, a number of second basemen will be available as free agents, led by the aforementioned Neil Walker. However, none of them rate out as starters at the position. Chase Utley, Gordon Beckham, Chris Coghlan, Daniel Descalso, Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson and Steve Pearce are all listed as potential free agent second basemen by MLB Trade Rumors, with Aaron Hill, Martin Prado, Justin Turner, Yunel Escobar and Ruben Tejada other potential free agents who have played second at some point in their careers. Some of them have had success in their past, but they are all well past 30, except for Ruben who is 27. But, I don’t see a Ruben reunion in the future for the Mets.

About Fred Aaron

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3 Comments

  1. Jonathan

    August 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Chase at 2nd, in Citi … can you imagine?

    Why not Steve Pearce? He hits both lefties (who he kills) and righties, he can play a lot of positions if we need to make a change down the road (to accommodate for a minor league prospect or other type of switch).

    I think Pearce’s days under the radar are just about done (certainly, Baltimore – twice – and TB know how effective he can be). He might be an affordable signing that can help to bridge the gap to 2018 and beyond.

  2. Fred Aaron

    August 5, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Pearce can certainly hit and he’s putting together a nice season this year. I may have concerns about his defensive range. For a team like the Mets with its solid pitching, it may come down to which second baseman can handle the position.

  3. George McGowan

    August 5, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    How dare you even type the name Chase Utley. I could hardly bring myself to do it. Took me an hour to type this comment.

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