As a Mets fan, I can honestly say that it has been an honor and a privilege to watch David Wright come up through the Mets organization and turn himself into one of the greatest players in Mets franchise history. He stuck around during the many hard years when the Mets simply stunk. He has always said he plans to retire as a Met and he has worked his way to becoming the captain of a now very dangerous Mets team. With all that being said, it is hard to watch David Wright play baseball today. The plays he used to make so effortlessly have now become impossible. The routine plays have now become difficult. Hitting .300 seems to be unreachable. This is not the David Wright that Mets fans have known. With Wright dealing with spinal stenosis, the question must be raised, what do you do with David Wright?
David Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in May of 2015 and it kept him out for a majority of the Mets season. He wasn’t the man leading the charge toward the Mets first playoff appearance since 2006. Every Mets fan has nothing but love for David Wright. He’s our leader, he’s our captain. Now, just one year removed from the initial diagnosis, it is hard at times to watch Wright play. His reaction time and his glove at third base are still very good. The arm is a different story. Because of the back pain that Wright now deals with on a daily basis, those simple routine throws aren’t so simple anymore. Wright has expressed his frustration with not being able to make those plays and as the consummate professional that he is, he has simply said he must make the necessary adjustments. While that is admirable, it may not be realistic. The better move here may be a position change. The question is, where to?
It seems that Wright’s issues in the field have carried over to the plate. He has struggled at the dish more so than in any other year of his career. It’s very common for a player to slump at the plate due to a slump in the field. So should David play somewhere else? There’s no designated hitter in the National League so Wright has to play a position. Does he follow childhood friend Ryan Zimmerman’s lead and make the move to the other corner of the infield? Does he maybe shift over to second base where he isn’t required to make those long throws across the diamond? It seems that either move could potentially make some sense. Lucas Duda has been the Mets first baseman since they decided to move on from Ike Davis in 2014. Aside from Duda’s one great year in 2014, he’s been a pretty average to below-average player. He has streaks where everything he hits is a home run and he usually follows those streaks with equally cold ones. Duda can be a free agent after the season but he is also eligible for arbitration. The Mets could choose to let Duda walk and maybe transition Wright over to first. Another option could be having Wright play second. Neil Walker can be a free agent after this season as well and there’s no guarantee that he will return. If he doesn’t the Mets could kick around the idea of having Wright play second base full time next season. It would mean shorter and easier throws to first base which has really been the achilles heal for Wright.
David Wright still has the athleticism to play this game at a high level. It just seems as though his days playing the hot corner are nearing an end. It would behoove both the Mets organization and David himself to come to grips with that fact. Having him play third is not doing the Mets any favors and his struggles in the field have definitely carried over to the plate. It’s tough to see Wright struggle the way he hass because you can tell how badly he wants to be great again. His spinal stenosis is not stopping him from putting the work in and wanting to regain that All Star form. It is not a career death sentence, but Wright also has to understand that he doesn’t have to be that guy to hit .300 and 25 home runs anymore. With guys like Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and Neil Walker on the team, he doesn’t have to carry the load offensively the way he once did. It should be a huge weight off of his shoulders. Instead his struggles have grown. I can’t help but assume that his offensive struggles are a direct result of a lack of confidence because of his struggles in the field. The sooner the Mets and Wright can accept his fate of not being the third baseman of the future, the better off the entire team is. We all love David Wright and want him to do well, but the time has come to search for a long term and definitive solution. We’ll see what the future holds but I have no shame in saying that I’m rooting for David Wright. I always have and I always will. He is still Captain America and still the leader of my beloved Mets.
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