David Wright left Sunday’s game in the third inning with neck discomfort. Before his departure, Wright had one of his better post-ASB performances, going 1-2 with a run and no strikeouts. Despite Wright’s assurances that he will not miss any playing time, and despite Terry Collins’s view of baseball stars’ physical abilities, if David does have to miss a few games, the Mets would be apt to shut him down for the rest of 2014.
Wright is in one of the worst slumps of his career. Since the All-Star Break, he’s hitting just .211 with two extra-base hits and an OPS below .500. More than that, he looks lost with the bat, unable to cover the outside of the plate and “sticking the fanny out,” as Keith Hernandez has pointed out so often on SNY.
It could be age, it could be this month-long struggle, it could be that David is already playing hurt. Whatever the reason, Wright is a shell of the seven-time All-Star we’ve come to know and love, and something must be done. Sitting him down for the rest of another lost season is an option.
Two things happen if Wright is shut down for September.
First, he gets the chance to rediscover his swing without succumbing to game pressures. Some time to clear his head will allow him to work the kinks out and keep from developing new kinks.
Second, it opens the door for Eric Campbell to get more regular playing time. September call-ups are typically a time for middling teams to try out players for the next year. If Campbell shines, he’ll have earned his spot as next season’s utility player. If he really shines, he may even gain some trade value.
All of this depends on the severity of Wright’s neck discomfort and his left shoulder issue, but if it takes a negative turn, New York has an obligation to get him healthy again, both physically and as a three-hitter. If 2015 truly is to be “next year,” best to make sure the Captain is ready to take the wheel.