Reese Kaplan -- Second Choice


Welcome to part 2 of the 11 part series on the 2017 New York Mets roster (assuming the choices exist among the existing personnel in the majors and minors).

Neil Walker

Had back surgery not ended Walker’s season prematurely it would have been one of the more hotly debated topics of the Hot Stove Season – whether or not the sloppy seconds “reward” of Neil Walker for similar money would make up for the MVP-season loss of Daniel Murphy.  Ongoing back problems and eventual surgery make it highly unlikely the Mets would be interested in bringing back the high ticket Walker using the return of David Wright to convince the fan base that his offense will be more than offset.  If Walker would accept a one-year “prove yourself” type of deal and then try for the big free agent deal in 2018, then I could see them making a run at him, but otherwise I think he has played his last game for the Mets already.

Jose Reyes

In an ill advised move to accommodate the since out-of-baseball Kazuo Matsui, Reyes did once start the year as the starting 2nd baseman, and although he’s played primarily 3rd this season to fill in for the injured David Wright, all signs point to the Mets’ collective delusion continuing that Wright will be available next season.  Therefore Reyes needs to shift to somewhere and Asdrubal Cabrera’s solid season (health notwithstanding) suggests that latecomer Reyes is the fellow on the move.

Wilmer Flores

With more good options available at 2B than elsewhere on the diamond, I don’t think the most recent injured Mets is destined to be the starting second baseman.  After all, the propensity to favor veterans over rookies would be justification alone, but Reyes brings a dimension of speed and anxiety to opposing pitchers and catchers that’s sadly missing from the offense.  I stick by my thought he should be part of a 1st Base platoon.

TJ Rivera 

Here’s an interesting dilemma for the Mets.  When they finally deigned to add the lowly regarded .323 career hitter to the 40 man roster he picked right up where he left off in the minors.  He’s a pesky hitter who has great ABs, but he’s kind of in the mold of Tom Herr who finished the 1985 season with a .302 average, only 8 home runs but 102 RBIs.  Could Rivera do something like that?  I doubt we’ll ever know because he plays multiple positions (none of them particularly well) and isn’t blessed with Reyes-like speed.  His future is on the bench and perhaps usurping the Wilmer Flores supersub role if Wilmer indeed becomes a semi-regular.

Asdrubal Cabrera

This prospective move – tampering with success – makes no sense whatsoever.  Cabrera is not Ozzie Smith but he’s been steady and solid at shortstop.   He’s under contract next year for a relative bargain at $8.5 million for 2017.  There is probably greater likelihood they would trade him to create room for Reyes or Gavin Cecchini than there is moving Cabrera to 2B.

Gavin Cecchini

Here’s the toughest one to figure out.  He started off looking like one of the busts of the Mets scouting crew who seemed to have found a good glove/no-hit kind of shortstop.  However, when the 2nd baseman of the future – Dilson Herrera – was sent to Cincinnati in the Jay Bruce trade, many were clamoring to try the suddenly hot hitting and defensively challenged Cecchini to 2nd base.  I even asked him about that a few weeks ago when he was here in El Paso to play the Chihuahuas but he said no one had asked him to do so.  Yet.  Just as the season came to an end he was given some innings at 2B and is going to the Arizona Fall League presumably to play there semi-regularly.  Like Rivera before him on this list, he’s got the potential to hit for a high average, but his advantage is his status as a number one draft pick.  His 21 year old season in AA resulted in a .317 AVG and this past season at the ripe old age of 22 he hit .325 for Las Vegas.  During the late season surge to a post-season he’s not likely to get much of a glimpse so he remains a great unknown commodity.


The usual suspects – Eric Campbell, Ty Kelly, Matt Reynolds and Kelly Johnson – are not likely to be considered starters if the team is serious about contending.

My Prediction

Bank on it, when the season starts in 2017 the Opening Day 2nd basemen will be Jose Reyes.  Look at the reasons:  a fan favorite, a leadoff batter, a base stealing threat and the dominant reason that towers above all others – the contract allows them to retain his services at bargain basement prices.


Thomas Brennan said...

I agree, Reese. Jose will start at 2B in 2017 unless Wright does not make it out of spring training. TJ Rivera turned some heads with his game winning homer andx3 hits and 3 RBIs in a huge game. Hitting.333, they have to like him. Wilmer should be at 1B, also agree. Cecchini most likely will be traded or get more time in AAA until the major league logjam breaks.

Hobie said...

Have zero confidence Wright will return to a full time starter. BEST to hope for is a Conforto/Wright platoon at 1B and hope his ailments happen to be exactly 180 out of synch with opposing LHP starts.

So, if no Walker (more than 50/50 IMO) I put Wilmer at 2B & Jose at 3B (although I can see a rationale for the reverse). Fantasy has me trading Grandy & Duda for some MinL projects (yes, projects, not prospects) and dumping De Aza.

That leaves Cespedes-Legares/Nimmo-Bruce in the OF with Johnson & TJ as true utility (IF/OF and PH).

I can envision other scenarios as well: Walker, no Wright, Bruce traded for something special, etc.

bob gregory said...

I don't see how making Wright have to stretch and react quickly as he digs balls out of the dirt would be in any way helpful for Wright.

bob gregory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas Brennan said...

Bob, I still remember Harmon Killebrew's stretch and full split at first base. He toppled over as if he were acting - but he wasn't and missed a lot of time post-split with a muscle pull.

Wright really needs to DH somewhere. Trade him and eat most of the contract. He needs to split for the team's good.

Hobie said...

I think the swing of the bat is more spinal demanding than the field at any position in the field. That said, of 1B & 3B, the reaction response demand is more instantaneous at 3B, are numerous ar 1B.

I don't think David will be back. And there's a Mgr opening in LV :-)

Reese Kaplan said...

Even Terry Collins is not so dense to bench TJ Rivera today...or is he?

Mack Ade said...

Hey guys... checking in.

Very proud of T.J. last night; however, I have no idea what the Mets will do with him next year. Nice bat off the bench and relief for Reyes.

It's the shame that Walker could easily not be ready for opening day, no less sign a contract. I still think the opening day infield will be Duda, Reyes, Cabrerra, and Wright, BWTHDIK?

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Mack, how are ya? A football team...Duda and Wright will be their two halfbacks.

IB said...

I'm glad to see both Rivera's in the lineup today. But, R.Rivera catching a day game after a night game speaks volumes about mgmt.'s confidence in D'Arnaud at this point - or is he hurt?

I think this is a much better squad all around with Rivera behind the plate.

Reese Kaplan said...

Three, if they re-sign Walker.

I think if Duda accepts a non-tender and pay cut or goes with the identical salary he will be back (oops, bad choice of words). If not, they need a new 1st baseman.

The third base analysis is coming next Wednesday but I have to disagree about David Wright. If you ask me, his best role right now is taking over for Wally Backman at AAA.

Reese Kaplan said...

It speaks even more loudly about how he feels about Kevin Plawecki. I can see him wanting to go with Rivera given a rookie with all of about 5 starts under his belt. However, Plawecki was not bad behind the plate -- better than d'Arnaud -- and I'd kind of like to see if his hitting could carry over from LV.

IB said...

Plawecki's 3rd string. Why isn't your 1st string in the game?

Or maybe the strings are getting retuned in crunch time.

Thomas Brennan said...

Put in your best catcher...Tomas Nido.

Win today...let's go WILD.

Gary Seagren said...

Look ANYONE is better than TDA at this point. R. Rivera has 24 rbi in 172 PA vs. TDA's 14 rbi in 250 plate appearances which is pathetic. Reese what's the deal with a possible Qualifying offer for Walker this winter....I heard QO's would expire this off season. Also it would seem more likely the FO would just take the 1 million buyout on Bruce based on what he's done since we got him...nothing and use the 13 million for YC. Going into next season it's possible we could have Walker, Duda, Lagares, Wright and almost an entire pitching staff looking to "prove themselves" which isn't a bad thing.

Robb said...

They are definitely going to give a QO to Walker. If he takes it he's your starting 2b man. reyes who is signed at the minimum veteran salary rate supposedly for next year is your back up, ss/3b man, flores is your back up, everywhere. Wright is paid for but who knows.

personally im hoping they trade jay bruce, new york doesnt seem to be his cup of tea. which is ok, provided they can get Cespedes signed, which I honestly think they will. no way the wilpons can let him go. I think there are a lot of teams that will trade the equivalent of dilson maybe younger for Jay bruce.

1b: duda/flores/Bruce
2b: Walker/Flores
SS: Cabrera/reyes/Rosario/Flores
3b: Wright/Reyes/Flores

Reese Kaplan said...

@Gary Seagren -- The current QO system is part of the CBA that expires on December 1, 2016. Since the season ends in October, it looks as if there is one more round of QOs to be made. Here's an excellent tutorial on how the QO system works:


Thomas Brennan said...

TDA has as many RBI as Yanks' Sanchez has homers!

Thomas Brennan said...

TDA has as many RBI as Yanks' Sanchez has homers!

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