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Mets 101 Position Review Roundtable: Infield

October 30th, 2012 at 9:32 PM
By Steve Popoloski

The Mets infield likely will look pretty similar in 2013 and with good reason. Once Ike Davis got back on track offensively, they were a solid quartet, both in the field and at the plate. Ruben Tejada was a very productive replacement at shortstop, David Wright was phenomenal and now that Daniel Murphy has a set position in the lineup everyday, Terry Collins' squad has stability and production around the horn.

'David Wright' photo (c) 2009, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Q1. (Mike Phillips) If Wright is dealt, who do you see as potential options from within the system or elsewhere) to fill his spot at third base?

I think this is an unlikely scenario as all signs point to David Wright and the Mets working out a long term contract extension. If for some reason the status quo changes, the team would have several options to at least man the position. The Mets could always move Daniel Murphy over to third on a short term basis, and the team has several intriguing hitters in the minors (namely Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte) whose best defensive position would be third base. They are being blocked at the moment by Wright, but I'm sure most Mets fans would want to see Flores and Marte moved to other positions or out of the organization rather than see David Wright leave.

Q2. (Joe Melendez) After the season Ruben Tejada had at shortstop, in the wake of Jose Reyes' departure, is he the long-term solution at shortstop?

I would say absolutely. In fact, I would say he's an even better option. While not as speedy, he's younger and an extremely solid short stop for his young age as prior to this season he primarily played second base in the majors. Along with good defense he also was as sure a bat that we had during the season. Especially with runners on base, where this team struggled for a greater part of the season to advance those players. This of course leaving out his own ability to get on base himself. Leaving out this fact, that he has durability (despite the fact he missed a large chunk of this season). Aside from this year, when you look at the difference between Reyes and Tejada is that Reyes' game is still predicated on speed. Tejada's is not. So when Jose hopefully not anytime soon, begins to loses speed, he has to change his game. Tejada has the opportunity to not just grow, but maintain and progress for a long, long time if healthy.

Q3. (Kyle Brosnan) Do you feel comfortable sticking with Murphy given his consistent bat and defensive limitations, or should the Mets be making second base a priority this offseason?

Yes. While Murph is still learning the position, his average defensive abilities were far overshadowed by his bat. Batting .291 with a .339 OBP, he should be a fixture in the two-hole, setting the table for the heart of the lineup. Although he hit just 6 home runs, not many Mets have shown they can get on base one out of every three times to the plate. Murphy showed improvement in the field and a steady glove, while he continues to work on his range and side to side movement. With no other bonafide options in the system, nobody is going to give the Mets what Murph can, for his bargain price (512K in 2012).

Q4. (Ryan Karp) With Ike Davis turning it around somewhat in the second half, will he return to form and be the Met 1B going forward, or is it time to use him as trade bait?

As for Ike Davis, I think don't think they should move him this off season. Yes, he had a cold stretch, but it's out of those cold stretches that learning experiences come from. He really did turn it on in the second half and show what he can bring to the table as a long-term solution at the first base position. The problem with the Mets, and with upper management, is that they're so quick to move pieces that they don't need to. Davis isn't part of the problem in New York: he should be considered part of the future. The Mets will need to do other things to wipe the slate clean and build the team from the ground up, but trading a youngster like Davis, who provides a bit of pop in a lineup that is pretty terrible, is not an answer. He is young, and if you shipped him I don't really see there being any gain worthwhile. No big ticket free agent will sign in NY in the state it is, and so the only way to build a team is from the ground up and putting faith in prospects you'll need to develop, like Davis.

Tags: Baseball, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Ike Davis, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Ruben Tejada

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