I suppose all teams occasionally run into a situation where they have multiple players for one position. The creative ones solve this by either moving a player to another position or making a trade.
The Cardinals moved Matt Carpenter to secondbase and the experiment went swimmingly, as most Cardinal experiments do. Other teams move their excess as Texas did trading Ian Kinsler this past offseason to make way for uber-prospect Jurickson Profar.
And then there’s the Mets who just try to jam one square peg into a round hole and when that inevitably doesn’t work they just find another square peg to jam into another round hole.
Time for some examples:
We’ll start with Eric Young Jr. He’s a veteran speed demon who can play adequate (at best) defense in leftfield and can plug up secondbase a bit.
What I see is a 4th/5th OF’er and a backup for Daniel Murphy who can be used as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner.
What Manager Collins sees is a regular, his lead-off batter par excellence. EY has over 1100 major league at bats and most of them came as a Rockie playing in a wonderful hitting environment.
He’s carved out an OPS of .663 which is not that much ahead of the gifted CF’er Juan Lagares’ rookie outing of .633. Young has a lifetime OBP of .325 which just can’t cut it as a leadoff hitter.
How do we see this yet the manager doesn’t? Watch them give this player 400 or more at bats this season and just watch him give them nothing back except some glossy stolen base stats.
And how about Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores? Not that either could ever win a Gold Glove anywhere but really they might best be described as 3Bmen forced to play elsewhere.
In Murph’s case and to his credit with hard work he has made himself a “not awful” 2bman. But just to make sure that he can’t keep his head clear the team looked to trade him and made it known that he doesn’t walk enough and doesn’t hit enough doubles. Why don’t they tell Eric Young Jr. that? He’s the one with the hitting problem.
And Wilmer who was told about five years ago that shortstop was never going to be his position is now putzing around out there. Another square peg into round hole situation. There are teams in baseball who might like to have a 22 year old 3Bman with a good hit tool and, who knows, they may have a half-decent shortstop prospect. Do you think the better organizations in baseball would create logjams like this and not act? I don’t.
The most obvious example is named Lucas Duda. Remember him in the outfield? Ah, good times.
Many of my DiJest articles poke fun at the inept ownership group and the tragedy of a big market team having the 7th lowest payroll in the game. But what I’ve written here doesn’t impact the bottom line.
I don’t know for sure whether the blame goes most to Jeff Wilpon or Sandy Alderson or Terry Collins. But I don’t think this team is coming within sniffing distance of 90 wins until the team stops trying to ram square pegs into round holes.