Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
If you’re going to have to pay David Wright for the balance of his contract, what role would be best serve on the club?
A lot of people have advocated that he move across the diamond to 1st Base I’m guessing primarily to relieve him of the burden of having to attempt to throw out runners. I see this move being disastrous if for no other reason that it would require a lot of extra preparation which would tax his already fragile body even further. A first baseman, while throwing relatively little, is involved in many more plays than is the third baseman. Let’s go back to 2014 when the Mets last had more-or-less steady play from Wright and Lucas Duda at the corners. Wright had 83 putouts and 231 assists to go along with 15 errors for a total of 329 chances. Duda, on the other hand, had 1108 putouts, 82 assists, 7 errors and a total of 1197 chances. So moving Wright across the diamond would effectively nearly quadruple the number of times he touches the ball defensively, not something you want to do with someone with back issues.
If you were to move him somewhere to minimize the bending and throwing issues, then the OF might be more suitable. There a right fielder logs fewer than 300 chances in a year. Unfortunately Wright is 34, slowing down, has had throwing problems and would also need many extra reps to learn the outfield.
No, my conclusion is if you are going to stick with David Wright you’d better plan on him staying where he needs no extra preparation for fielding beyond the stretching exercises for his back. So if he’s going to play 3rd base, where should he appear in the lineup?
Although traditionally he has been a middle of the order hitter, the fact is that no one is sure anymore how much power he has left. It may be time for him to reinvent himself into more of a line drive hitter with a good eye and high OBP. Consequently I would advocate having him bat 2nd with lefties like Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce behind him. I’ve never been a big advocate of Curtis Granderson as the leadoff hitter, and if they appear to want to use Jose Reyes in the mold of the Cubs’ Ben Zobrist, then he should be the primary leadoff hitter. Against righties he can bat left handed, then the righty Wright, then one of the myriad of lefties before getting to the righty Yoenis Cespedes.
While I’m no physical therapist and have no idea about kinesiology, just common sense would dictate that there’s less torque required to hit singles than there is to drive the ball over the wall. If you took this approach with Wright, could he convert into the type of hitter that Keith Hernandez was – some power but a good approach at each AB and a chance to hit .300 nearly every year?
If you’re the Mets, short of reaching a buy-out arrangement for his contract, what would you do with David Wright?