David Wright was flown out to New York today to check on his sore rib cage, and all of a sudden a potential pillar of strength may be pulled out from the Mets foundation. With so many positions in question, third base was one we didn’t have to worry about.
So let’s assume the worst. David Wright has strained or torn something in his rib cage (or somehow fractured a rib) and he’ll need surgery. What is our backup plan?
Surprisingly, this isn’t a huge mess for the Mets. Here’s the list of guys ready for the third base job; Justin Turner, Zach Lutz and Daniel Murphy. The first is the most logical, but the other two are intriguing.
First off Turner has been the go to guy for third base while he was healthy and David Wright wasn’t (which happened more often than we remember). To me he gets first crack at the job simply because that’s what they’ve done in the past.
However, Zach Lutz’s spring has been quite encouraging. He’s hit very well but there simply isn’t a place to put him. Turner’s ahead of him on the depth chart for a corner infield spot, and Brandon Hicks plays most of the infield as well. (Hicks played third today, Lutz played first) Hicks, however, has not been good at all with the bat. Lutz has a major league bat according to most Met-centric sources, but the fact that the Mets have their best position players at first and third had Lutz ticketed for the minors.
The Daniel Murphy thing is interesting but more as an excursive in moving personnel. The plan would be to move Murphy back to third base (his favored position before he was a first baseman, before he was a second baseman) play Jordany Valdespin at second and have Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd and Collin Cowgill play everyday in the outfield. That would allow the hottest hitting bats and the incumbents to all play.
In my personal opinion I would hand the job to Zach Lutz. Hopefully it would mean a short time frame fix and could drum up Lutz’s trade value when Wright is ready to come back. It also means that the slightly more versatile Turner can be ready to back-up the infield.