New York Mets

New York Mets: Daniel Murphy, Chin-Lung Hu Are Best Options at Second Base

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 03: Shortstop Daniel Murphy #28 of the New York Mets plays the field against the St. Louis Cardinals stealing second base at Digital Domain Park on March 3, 2011 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Jim MancariCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2011

New York Mets manager Terry Collins has said that he would like to get each of his potential second base candidates some more at-bats over the next few days, as he starts to whittle down the playing field.

Today we learned that Daniel Murphy is likely out of the competition, and will be used more as a super-utility player. If that's the case, at least Murphy will have a spot on the team.

That being said, Murphy is starting today at second base, so it begs the question of whether or not he's really out of the competition.

Collins and Sandy Alderson have been saying all along that they want second base to be an offensive position, then why on earth would they settle for Hernandez?

Hernandez is a .245 career hitter who's played for three different teams. Maybe the Mets are hoping this Hernandez hits like Keith? That's unlikely.

Hernandez has looked decent at the plate so far this spring, but in limited action. He'll be starting at shortstop today.

He's also out of options, so he would have to clear waivers before being sent to Buffalo. Most likely, another team in need of middle infield depth would pick him up. However, he wouldn't be the a terrible loss.

The Mets have other players out of options as well, most notably Nick Evans. I would rather see the team keep Evans as a bench player than have Hernandez as the starting second baseman.

If Collins and Alderson are true to their word, Murphy is the answer at second base. Unfortunately, Murphy hasn't had enough chances in the field at the major league level to show if he is ready.

Murphy has six doubles this spring and has driven in seven runs. He would be a nice compliment to the back end of the Mets lineup.

At first, I was worried that if Murphy were the starter at second, the bottom of the order would be chock full of lefties. Murphy, first baseman Ike Davis and catcher Josh Thole all bat left-handed.

However, if the Mets were to face a tough left-hander, Ronny Paulino could get a start behind the dish, and Chin-lung Hu, not Brad Emaus, could slide in at second.

That's right: Chin-lung Hu. He can also be a late defensive replacement for Murphy.

Though Hu has swung the bat well this spring, Hu and Murphy would at most be a defensive platoon. If even that much.

Murphy would start and hopefully get a few hits and drive in some runs. If the game is close late, Collins could insert Hu defensively to sure up the middle infield, especially if a double play is necessary.

If this were the case, the following would all have to occur before the season starts: Emaus would be sent back to Toronto, Luis Castillo is released, and Luis Hernandez is either picked up by another team or sent to Buffalo.

Justin Turner appears destined for Buffalo anyway, since he has options left. The Mets would also likely have to carry Nick Evans to provide some right-handed punch off the bench because they wouldn't get that from Hu.

The speculation will continue to evolve in the coming days about which player or combination of players, will man second base

It's a tough call either way, so I'm glad I'm not the one making the decision. I don't think Hernandez is the answer, but other than that it's really just a guessing game until we find out who is.

Follow me on Twitter@JMMancari.

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