By: Marc Loughlin

The Obvious Solution to the David Wright Dilemma

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With the Mets picking up Jose Reyes’ team option for 2017 and Neil Walker accepting the $17.2 million qualifying offer, the infield is shaping up to look similar to that of last year.

Lucas Duda returned from injury late last season and is likely to be the Mets’ everyday first baseman. Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera will make up the Mets’ double play combination up the middle, manning second base and shortstop, respectively. Jose Reyes will likely continue to be the everyday third baseman as he was to close out the 2016 campaign. With all of this all but set in stone, one major question remains: What do the Mets plan to do with David Wright?

David Wright is a great guy, a great teammate and, when healthy, a great ball player. The only issue at this point in time, which should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, is whether or not he can stay healthy for a full season.

Here’s a hint: he can’t.

Coming into the 2016 season, Wright was projected to play third base as often as possible while still giving him the rest required to keep his spinal stenosis at bay. This cautious approach bought him exactly 38 games before he went down once again, this time, with a neck injury. Wright had surgery to repair the herniated disk in his neck and is hopefully on track to get back on the field in time for spring training.

If David is able to get and stay healthy enough to make the Opening Day roster, how should the Mets use him? Let it be noted that how I think the Mets should use Wright and how they actually do use him, if at all, will likely be two very different things. This is more of a suggestion than it is a projection, but, to me at least, it seems obvious. With that being said, David Wright has to immediately and solely work on playing first base. Lucas Duda is weak against left handed pitching. David Wright has always hit left handed pitching extremely well. David Wright has a career .337 BA and .430 OBP against left handed pitching. Lucas Duda has a career .224 BA and .294 OBP against left handers. This isn’t rocket science. Platooning the two allows the Mets to both give David Wright more than adequate rest and to utilize him most effectively. It also allows them to use Duda more efficiently and effectively. Wilmer Flores was used in a similar role last season, and did so well, but he also has the ability to spell any of the other three infield positions so he should still see a good amount of playing time. And, when Wright inevitably misses time, he could easily slide right back in to that same role.

The only potential issue I could see would be on the defensive side of the ball. Wright has always been an above average defender in terms of range and fielding ground balls. The only issue with his defense in recent years has been his arm, which would have virtually no effect on his ability to handle first. The Mets wouldn’t exactly be reinventing the wheel with this move, either. Older players have been moving from their primary positions to first base since seemingly the beginning of time. I’m sure there are Mets fans still trying to forget Mike Piazza’s twilight years spent playing first base. There’s no way Wright can be any worse than that, right? Even David Ortiz managed to make the occasional cameo at first base over the last couple of years. Plus, third and first base are both corner infield positions. The dynamics are similar enough. All in all, the switch would not be unrealistic.

Wright has proven time and time again that he’s a man dedicated to his craft and to helping his team win. There’s absolutely no better way he could contribute going forward than to make the switch to first base.

About Marc Loughlin

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2 Comments

  1. Blaiseda

    December 10, 2016 at 10:43 am

    They are going to let Wright play third and tart at third because if he gets hurt he’ll be out for a while and they recoup 75% of his salary. Also it’s becoming more likely a doctor will declare him unfit to play mlb ball just like with Cecil fielder last year. Then DW gets to keep all his money and Mets have to only pay 75%. DW probably stays on as club ambassador or minor league coach in some capacity but that’s what solves the problem. But that won’t happen if they platoon him and he only plays 50 games.

  2. Blaiseda

    December 10, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I meant 25%. That’s what the Mets would pay in his remaining contract.

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