Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesDecember 3, 2009
I heard this idea come up again a few days ago. I've kicked it around, and I'm going to make a case for it. I'm not sure that I believe in it 100 percetn, but, again, I'm just seeing where going in this direction takes us. This sort of plan gears more towards "building for the future."
David Wright, while he has been a Gold Glove third baseman twice, is not an elite fielder. His UZR has never been that great—never in the top tier of MLB
third baseman. He's been above average a few times, but never a real standout. He does not have a strong third baseman's arm—just watch the throws he makes versus the throws A-Rod makes. A-Rod has the arm to side-arm sling the ball across the diamond with accuracy EVERY time.
Wright has struggled with his arm slot in the past, switching from over-the-top to side-arm and back again. Since the middle of 2008 he's had trouble throwing the ball down the line (towards home, if looking at first base from second base) and making low throws in the dirt. However, he does have great reflexes and great hands for backhanding the balls to his left and right. He has good range. But again, the arm puts a damper on his third base ability
I'm confident that David could learn to play first base well. He is an open-minded, smart, team-first ballplayer. First base is one of the least complex positions to learn on the field. Furthermore, the move to first allows the Mets
to make several changes that I am attaching to this argument.
Move Wright to first, and sign Chone Figgins. Wright should give the Mets at least what Carlos Delgado gave them, which was average to below-average defense at first base. Chone Figgins would be an improvement over Wright, as Figgins is a true elite fielder. He also can play multiple other positions, and could gear the Mets more towards being a speed-oriented team-perhaps molding them in the form of the Anaheim Angels
. The Mets already steal a good amount of bases, and Figgins could add another 40-steal guy to the top of a lineup that already has Jose Reyes.
Now, with these changes in place, I would not advocate signing Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, or any high-profile position player this offseason. They would probably have enough money after a Figgins signing to get Lackey. For left field, I would advocate "building for the future."
For a year, you could plug the spot with Angel Pagan. You also allow Fernando Martinez to compete for the job in Spring Training, along with Chris Carter and maybe, in the future, Ike Davis (who has played RF during his minor-league tenure). However, ultimately there is an odd man out...which, conveniently enough, leaves trade bait that the Mets could readily move-perhaps for some more pitching depth.
It's an idea to think about, because I would be comfortable with this plan knowing that it allows the Mets to a) make a high profile signing(s), but b) still build for the future by allowing young guys to compete for the spot in left field and c) leave a prospect open as trade bait, whether it's Davis, Martinez, or even Pagan, who teams seem to like.