Mets fans won’t know just how long David Wright is going to be shelf until another day or so, but he will definitely miss a game or two-probably more. That puts Terry Collins in an interesting position. He has two players, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, who need to remain in the lineup despite shaky defense at their respective new positions, and both need the reps. However, if Wright lands on the disabled list, replacing him for two weeks with Justin Turner or Ronny Cedeno isn’t appealing from an offensive standpoint. What’s a manager to do?
Losing Wright for an extended period of time means losing a major source of offense and the team’s best right-handed hitter. It’s still early, but Wright is off to a scorching start, going seven for twelve with a homer and four runs batted in over his first fourteen plate appearances, striking out just once. Cedeno filled in last night and picked up three hits, including a double, but is a lifetime .246/.287/.354 hitter and isn’t suited for everyday play. Turner is another option, but he also isn’t an everyday player, hitting .249/.325/.340 over his career. However, if Wright lands on the disabled list, these players will likely see the field on a regular basis. The question is, what position will everyone play?
If Wright is out, the Mets need Murphy’s bat to remain in the lineup. He has shown some promise at second base (see: Monday night) but also has more work to do (see: Tuesday night). The Mets hope the lineup can produce enough runs to outweigh any of Murphy’s defensive miscues, but the offense will take a serious blow if Wright is out for awhile. If that is the case, and the Mets don’t call up a third baseman, Murphy needs to move to the hot corner.
Collins has already indicated that Murph would likely move to third if Wright is sidelined for an extended time period, and it would be the right move. Murphy has more experience at third base and plays the position better. In that case, Turner or Cedeno could play second, where they each have more experience. The offense would still take a hit, but the defense would be better. The team might also opt to call-up Jordany Valdespin to play second. Another possible move might be to call-up third baseman Zach Lutz, who has hit at the minor league level but never been able to stay healthy. Or the team could recall Josh Satin, who has played mostly second base in the minors but also seen action at the corner infield spots. In that scenario, Satin would most likely be filling the bench spot vacated by Cedeno or Turner.
It seems unlikely that Lutz or Valdespin would be promoted if they were to sit on the bench or remain on the team for a short period of time. The most likely scenario involves Murphy moving to third base and having some combination of Turner/Cedeno/Satin play second. It isn’t ideal, but having your best hitter wind up on the disabled list creates a less-than-ideal situation.
Murphy certainly needs the reps at second base in order to become a more competent defender, but it is more than OK to move him to third in Wright’s absence. In fact, that is what the team should do. At this point in the season, Collins’ job is to put the best team he can on the field in order to win games, and if that involves Murphy playing second base, then so be it.
Tags: Amazins Daniel Murphy David Wright Josh Satin Justin Turner Lucas Duda Matt Kaufman Mets Murphy Defense Murphy Third Base New York New York Mets Rising Apple Ronny Cedeno Terry Collins Wright Disabled List Wright Injury Zach Lutz