Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
Well, the Mets will soon be taking the field once again. And this time they will be doing it as the defending NL Champs. And, just like last year, and the past decade or so, David Wright will be on the field with this team. The leader, captain, and franchise player, 'bad back' and all, has plans to be the same starting 3rd baseman he's always been. So what happens if he does........well........amazin things in the coming year ahead?
David Wright will play out 2016 as a 33 year old. Doesn't sound too young, doesn't sound too old.
He only played 38 measly games in 2015. Oh, he batted .289 with a .379 OBP, and an .814 OPS (people love this fancy OPS stat I believe). And that was in a season where he JUST officially found out that he pretty much a life changing condition with his back, and was JUST trying to figure out how to play/live with it and produce in the biggest sports market in the world.
Now, I'm not trying to write a head in the clouds post about David Wright hitting 25 homers, batting .300 and making the all star team. But I would like to think out loud here, and further stir up a discussion on changing a bit of the expectations that are being thrown around regarding a guy who kinda played with a broken back before.
Let's discus overall production.......quality if you will.....instead of quantity. He's only played over 130 games once since 2011 anyway, so we can't all expect a perfectly healthy 33 year old David Wright to take the field 162 times regardless, so let's throw that out the window first. But, for me, I wanna talk production when he is on the field.
I still want my teams captain to bat 2nd this coming season. A productive David Wright is a contact hitter, with some pop, that you simply can't walk because he will have some solid hitters behind him. And if Grandy is already on base via walk ;) well then you want a guy like David up there to hit a few gappers and score the man from first if possible.
He did seem to possibly strike out too often in 2015, right? Well, in 2010, he averaged more than a strikeout a game. Oh, he also hit 29 homers and had 103 RBI's that year. Again, not even suggesting he does anything like that. But what I'm saying is that he has been there, done that in this league. I don't believe that a still just 33 year old franchise player will simply fade away, hitting .200 with a few homers and play under 100 games in 2016. And this is my focus, the present. The Mets are now perennial contenders, and so we take everything year to year now, and not just simply discuss a possibly bright future. The future is now. The Mets have a chance to go on a Braves type run with this division for awhile year after year, and I think David Wright can help the cause here.
One of the MANY things that the Yoenis Cespedes signing did for this team was provide not only protection in the lineup in a given day, but also allow for a guy like David to hit 2nd, if the team so chooses, and not bat him 3rd. And perhaps, based on how things play out, a still learning and improving Conforto, with veterans such as Duda, Walker and hopefully a healthy TDA, suggest that the Mets will have the comfort in knowing that by sitting David Wright they are certainly not sacrificing anything on those nights. Oh, and there's that little fact that the Mets to my knowledge still have the best rotation in baseball, and can easily win 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 ballgames anyway.
But again, back to the point. What if David Wright has a solid season? What if David 'makes the routine plays' in the field. What if he still shows ability to go the opposite way with the bat, leading to a nice amount of doubles. What if he hits the double digit homers that he has his entire career? And what if continues to hit for a very respectable average, and oh yeah continues to be a leader on the field, in the clubhouse, and out in the community where he is not out there getting arrested, hurting anyone, or even on social media getting caught up 'out of context' on something he said?
Usually, I've played the game of what if's when referring to Mets having many different things come together in order to have a winning season. Well folks, we're behind that now. The Mets are already primed for another winning season. And this particular what if game is banking on a guy who is still here because he believed in this organization. There are some out there who complain about the contract he received. Well, anyway, first of all he would have received more in the open market, guaranteed. And again, we are talking about a leader who a business owner can throw millions at and not worry about negative attention, consequences or regret about it later.
So let's perhaps keep the guessing game going and predict that David Wright looks the part of a very solid number 2 hitters and contributor for this team in the 2016 season. The reports have been out for months that he has been looking to adjust his pregame routine, and look to lower the amount of time it takes to get his body ready.
The team has assembled the most depth it has had in forever, and so any number of quality veterans and bats can take his place on any given night and produce. Wilmer Flores I believe will do just fine thank you this year, regardless of where he plays. Neil Walker seems to be another solid veteran guy who is saying all the right things, and so would probably have no issues playing 2B, 3B, whatever B they ask of him.
I guess at this point the only part of me that is in fantasy land is the part that wants to see another pretty balanced righty lefty lineup where my man Michael Conforto can slight right in behind the captain and hit 3rd. But I safely assume the Mets don't go that route to start the year, so maybe they go with either Duda or Cespedes to protect David in the lineup. And that is just find by me for 2016.
We can argue Duda inconsistences all day, but the fact remains that on any given day he can smash a ball over the wall, and I would love to see Grandy and my man David Wright be on base right before him when he does it.
So these are just a few of my thoughts on the captain of this franchise. He ain't dead yet. The talks of moving to first, or even waiting for the NL to adopt the DH rule are things not needed for the 2016 discussion. What matters is that David Wright has plans to contribute heavily this season. And we should take him at this word. Terry Collins, love him or hate him, will have i'm sure some very positive and perhaps brief daily discussions every game with David. He will given the thumbs up or thumbs down, and there will be no issues here. But again, let's think about a productive David Wright on the field. Let's consider the impact it will have on the already most pretty looking 25 man this franchise has seen in years, to go along with the games best starting rotation.
What if David Wright succeeds in 2016? What if he succeeds in 145 games? 135? What he helps the team win, more often than not, when he is simply on the field? Think about when he hit that first homer upon his return. Think about the run he scored and his reaction. We don't need David Wright to be 2010 David Wright. We need him to be himself, that of a HARD worker who is certainly not washed up, or too old to succeed at this level. Either way, we need David Wright on the field to win.......but that's just my opinion.....................................