Reese Kaplan -- A New Role Model for David Wright

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?


eraff said...

He's played less than 50 games the past 2 years. We can Pretend that we are addressing an "Age based Physical Decline"....and we could discuss "easier Positions"....yes,,,we could Pretend.

There is absolutely no reason to think that He can Play...that he can show up on most days.

This ends in a MIRACLE...or it ends with Retirement. Old Players with Serious and Chronic Injuries RETIRE...USUALLY!!!!

Thomas Brennan said...

Make him the manager? A similar, but better hitter felled by back issues was Donnie Baseball. He hit .304 with 6 homers in 372 at bats in his 2nd-to-last year, and .288 with 7 homers in 458 at bats in his last year. Effective to the end, and adapted well to his limitations. I saw that "In his 2001 Historical Baseball Abstract, statistical guru Bill James ranked Don Mattingly as the 12th-greatest first baseman of all-time. In his comment to the ranking, James described him as "100 percent ballplayer, zero percent BS.""

Wright's only hope is to do similarly. And hope, like Donnie did when he averaged 112 games his last 2 years, that Wright could effectively play that many. But Donnie's issue was likely not as severe as Wright's.

Batting him 2nd? More running, more sliding. Recall that in 2015, his early season slide into 2nd knocked him out for most of the remainder of the year - he is fragile. He should be traded to an AL team to DH. But who would want him, even in that role?

My hope? If he needs to retire, do it either in spring training or in an April farewell.

Reese Kaplan said...

They'd want to cash in on a farewell tour.

Mack Ade said...

First of all, as a businessman, I would do everything I could do to work out an early out for Wright before the 2017 season starts.

If that is not obtainable, I would sit down Terry Collins and see if he would sign on for a join retirement at the end of the 2017 season... he as the manager... and Wright as a player.

I would then make Wright a player-coach for the 2017 season and play him (if healthy) exclusively at third base. This would also give him the proper opportunity for a farewell tour.

Mack Ade said...

Oh, I forgot.

I would also announce in that joint press conference with Collins when he announces his retirement at the end of the 2017 season, that Wright will become the 2018 Mets manager

Hobie said...

I'm one of those who favors a 1B platoon-life for DW if he can play at all. That would fit with Mack's player/coach/manager-elect scenario. Whether he is physically capable of playing has more to due with the effects (on his back) of swinging the bat, which supersede the strain of scoops at 1B or throws from 3B IMO.

Wilmer has to get the majority of reps at 3B. TJ & Jose can fill in around the horn and even the OF assuming your going with 12 pitchers, a 1B platoon & 4 OF's. So we're back to one of Duda/Grandy/Bruce being dealt by April for Conforto to (a) share CF w/ Legares (Grandy dealt); (b) regular RF (Bruce dealt); or (c) share 1B w/ Wright (Duda).

Personally, I like (c) with at least one of the others gone by July, Conforto back in the OF & D.Smith sharing 1B with Wright.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hobie, we will have an interesting spring traing this year.

Reese Kaplan said...

Lots of familiar faces and no new ones other than the two minor leaguers Rowen and Burns. Or was it Rowan and Martin. Or Burns and Allen. it seems like it was since their respective heydays since we added a player.

eraff said...

Managers Get FIRED----The all time face of your Franchise as a Manager GUARANTEES a distasteful End....so, David will never Manage the Mets....unless they're dumb about it!!!

Jerry West and Elway may be the only two Sports Heroes to "go Back Home"---in both cases, as Front Office Guys, and with amazing success.

Gary Seagren said...

The BIG question is will David if he can't play anywhere near good/avg. will he do a Cuddyer and walk away (with of course a huge settlement) for the betterment of the team. If anyone would do it you would think it would be him....we will see. Did anyone hear anymore about D. Smith's size?

Reese Kaplan said...

You have a guaranteed $67 million coming to you at your job between now and 2021. What would make you want to walk away from that?

Mack's Mets © 2012