With the free agent signing of Jed Lowrie, the trades for Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis, as well as the emergence of Jeff McNeil and Todd Frazier returning, the Mets have created a logjam in the infield.
On opening day, the Mets started an infield of Pete Alonso at first, Robinson Cano at second, Amed Rosario at shortstop and Jeff McNeil at third base. Since then, the only real change has been McNeil playing left field and J.D. Davis playing third base.
Lowrie had a career year for the A’s in 2018, slashing .267/.353/.448 leading to his first All-Star appearance. The Mets signed him to a 2 year, $20 million contract this offseason to shore up their infield depth. While having too many good players is a good problem to have, it’s going to be tough for Mickey Callaway to divvy up the playing time.
Alonso should start virtually every game at first base for the Mets, and when he doesn’t Dominic Smith has proven to be a capable backup. Cano was traded for to start 150 games, so he won’t be sitting much.
Rosario has gotten the bulk of the starts at shortstop and has previously been regarded as a top prospect in baseball. At third base, the Mets have started McNeil, J.D. Davis and now Frazier. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much playing time for Lowrie there either.
McNeil has started 12 games so far in left field, so he can be left out of the third base carousel. Davis started 15 games at third before being relegated to a bench role with the return of Todd Frazier.
While it would make sense for Lowrie to split time with Frazier at third, Lowrie has only 15 appearances there since 2016. In 2018, he started 14 games there and had a -2 DRS (defensive runs saved). His most experienced position is second base, but that is currently occupied by Cano and he’s not going anywhere.
Rosario has started 21 of the Mets 23 games so far this season, a trend that will most likely continue. Although the Mets haven’t carried a true backup shortstop for most of the season, Jed Lowrie doesn’t really fit in there either. The last time he played shortstop at a consistent basis was in 2014 when he started 139 games and was worth -10 DRS.
Even though Lowrie doesn’t have a true starting position for the Mets, he will get his starts. Whether it’s splitting time with Frazier at third, occasionally backing up Rosario at shortstop or relieving Cano when he needs a day off at second.
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Even though Lowrie will probably get the bulk of playing time away from his natural position, the Mets will sacrifice defense to get his bat in the lineup, a theme among this Mets’ team. Mickey Callaway has some tough decisions to make soon, but it’s a great problem to have if you’re the Mets.