Mets lack of versatility on defense put to the test after 2 injuries

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Talking about a lack of defensive versatility for the New York Mets in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies feels wrong. Nobody is less diverse than they are. It’s a team of DHs missing all of the good fundies.

But in Friday night’s game, the Mets were feeling a little more Philly.

Eduardo Escobar and Jeff McNeil each left the game early. This forced Luis Guillorme into the game to replace Escobar but play second base and Tyler Naquin to come in for McNeil but play left field. Mark Canha, the starting left fielder, proceeded to move to the hot corner in place of Escobar.

The Mets roster lacks defensive versatility and it’s a minor problem

Escobar and more so McNeil, are two of the more versatile defenders on the Mets. They haven’t used Escobar away from third base aside from two innings at second. When he first signed with the team, there was a thought he could play a lot more second base and maybe even be an emergency shortstop. The option is there. However, with Guillorme playing so well, he has been Buck Showalter’s favorite infield replacement.

Losing one of those players in the game is survivable. When you’re missing both and one of them is McNeil, the lack of versatility shows.

A reason for it is the decision to carry Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf. While Ruf can play some corner outfield, he’s more of a first baseman when he is required to wear a glove. With one of them always on the bench and the other in the starting lineup, this leaves the Mets in a bit of a hole. The bench will always start with one DH, a catcher, and two others. Regularly, it’ll be Naquin and Guillorme.

Is it going to end the Mets’ hopes of winning a championship? Not in the least. Occasionally, in a game like this, it can put the club in a bit of a bind.

The bigger problem for the Mets or any other big league club occurs when there’s a hurt player on the roster yet not on the IL. As any single game grinds on, options do become more limited as members of the bench come off it to replace the starters.

Unfortunately for this year’s Mets team, there isn’t much they can do right now to overcome instances like this other than preventing someone like McNeil—who can play everywhere—from becoming one of the injury casualties.

For now, we’ll just have to hope Escobar and McNeil get well soon.

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