Coming into the 2017 season, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Mets is the health of captain David Wright.
Wright, who was limited to 37 games during the 2016 season and only saw action in 38 games in 2015, will be looking to finally bounce back for the Mets this season.
He hit .226 last season — his worst average ever — which leads some to believe that Wright is on the downside of his career. But since he is still only 34 years old, he can still be somewhat of a factor in this Mets lineup. That low batting average could be attributed to his health issues.
With the Mets having more power at their disposal, Wright doesn’t need to be the anchor of the lineup anymore. While he hasn’t been that for a couple of seasons now, 2017 will be a completely different year for Wright and the Mets. He can go into it with less pressure on his shoulders.
With health being the biggest concern surrounding the two sides, Wright will and should probably be used lower in the lineup, as well as play only a couple of times a week to keep his back fresh.
With a packed infield, New York can afford to give Wright as much time as he needs on the bench. Utilizing Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores at third base can give Wright extra rest, if he’s even healthy in the first place.
Terry Collins stated in the past that he sees Wright playing “as often as every four out of five games.” This is obviously the best-case scenario going into the season, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
Although, with the heart and determination Wright has, it wouldn’t shock anyone if he can get through it at that rate, either. But will he be able to perform at a high level despite his back condition? That question will be answered closer to the regular season and depends solely on Wright’s durability.
Another key question regarding Wright will be where to play him, especially if his defense takes a hit because of his back. While he will be the everyday third basemen going into the season, talk of having Wright play some first base has been rumored for the last couple of seasons. While it isn’t as physically demanding as the hot corner, I don’t know if that would be the right thing.
With New York looking to use Jay Bruce at first base during spring training, that should open a spot for Michael Conforto to be used more in the outfield. Keeping Wright at third base and resting him extensively seems to be the best possible scenario for both sides at this point.
While it all comes down to the health of Wright, the back issue is going to be something he must deal with for the rest of his career. While he won’t be called upon like he was in the past, Wright can hopefully be an above average bat in a lineup that is going to be very good next season.