David Wright should be benched for his own good

David WrightEvery so often a team is on the verge of competing, but needs a big bat to push them over the edge. In 2014, the Mets are that team, but when the trading deadline came and went at the end of July, no moves were made. That’s because the Mets already have that big bat in David Wright. They are just waiting for him to be David Wright.

2014 hasn’t been overly kind to Wright who’s currently batting .271/.331/.390, numbers that aren’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but disappointing compared to his career .299/.378/.498 line that Mets fans have become accustomed to seeing year after year. The only times we haven’t seen Captain America be his usual wonderful self is when he’s hurt, or when he was striking out too much, like in 2009 and 2010. Wright already has 85 Ks this year, which is a higher pace than he had last year before getting hurt. His power numbers are also down as his ISO is .119 and below league average, and his SLG is .390, almost identical to league average.

According to his plate discipline numbers, he’s swinging at pitches outside the strike zone at a 26.5% clip, which is no where near his 2010 mark of 30.1%, but still above his career rate of 23.1%. Part of that may be that until the recent emergence of Lucas Duda, Wright still didn’t have much protection behind him in the lineup, and might have been trying to do too much on his own. However, Duda has been hot and hitting behind Wright consistently since July 8th. That should have helped Wright, but it hasn’t. Since that date, Wright has one home run, 10 RBI, an ISO of .089, and a SLG of .354. Protection is not the issue.

Another potential answer is that Wright is seeing sliders at a rate he hasn’t seen since 2011. When conducting the eye test, it seems like Wright has gotten into the habit of swinging at low sliders away again. His swinging strike percentage backs that up at 7.9%, which is the highest he’s had since 10.4% in 2010. None of these numbers are so drastically off the scale that they identify one huge problem, but they are all small symptoms of a larger issue.

Wright is also dealing with injury. A bruised left rotator cuff forced Wright to miss a short stint of games and required a cortisone shot before the All-Star break. Since the break, Wright is hitting .186/.250/.203 with a .017 ISO and a 20.3 K%. Terry Collins stated recently that he asked Wright if he wanted a day off, and Wright suggested he could get through this funk on the field. Wright is the captain of the Mets, and is a leader by example. He wants to play through the pain and help his team. Unfortunately right now he’s doing the exact opposite.

Clearly his shoulder is still an issue, because by his own admission “When you’re in something like this, when you don’t have it, you’re guessing wrong and it seems like you’re swinging before the ball is out of the pitcher’s hand.” That is a clear indication that either the player is not in the right mind-frame or there is a lingering injury that is keeping the player from performing. In this case, it might be the latter causing the former. It’s time for Collins to step up, be the manager and sit Wright for a short time.

Wright should most likely be put on the 15-day DL to give that shoulder time to properly heal. In that time, Collins could play Eric Campbell who’s playing time has been severely cut over the past recent weeks, and see if this guy can really be a long-term asset. Since the Mets are numerically an extreme long-shot to make the playoffs anyway, it’s not like the team is giving up on the season, and it might even provide the young players a kick in the pants to step up while the captain is down. Then, hopefully, a revived Wright can come back and be the big bat in the lineup that the Mets are hoping for. It’s a move that requires courage on the part of the manager and humility on the part of the player. Both men are capable of doing that, but we need to see it happen. Otherwise, the injury could get worse, the team could suffer, and an issue in 2014 could become an issue in 2015. And no Mets fan wants that.

16 comments for “David Wright should be benched for his own good

  1. Frank
    August 5, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I am sure the shoulder is a major cause in recent weeks for his decline, however, he has not been the same Captain we all are accustom to seeing. I hate to say it but he needs more than a DL stint. He needs us to lower our expectations of his numbers and look to other options in the lineup for power. His best power years may very well be behind him. At best, he is another Murphy these days. Which is fine, but not for what we or the team expects him to be. Good article here though.

    • Metsense
      August 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      I think he is hurting also and he really looks more like a two hole hitter and not a 3. I would rather have Wright in for the Nats than Campbell. His presence is important for the team. If this series goes in the can though, I think David should sit and rest that shoulder. I think it is the shoulder but maybe he had one too many Beers.

  2. August 5, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    there is no reason to believe that he will be as productive as he has been in the past. what you see in David is what you will get. I hope Im wrong , but he has not been the same player since he was beamed . The biggest problem with the Mets is the manager. and how he is using the players. He should move David to the no. 1 spot. see how he does there. Collins plays players that should not be on the field, C Young. takes out players when they are on a hot streak, like Campbell and Flores. If the front office is smart, with the team going nowhere test market with Wally and find out what you have in him as a manager. let Collins switch places for a while. But that would make to much sense, same old Mets. I have been a Met fan since they started with Casey . no hope until the get rid of the Wilpons.

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  3. Dan Kolton
    August 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Should Wright be benched… maybe. But even though his bat is not there, he has a 1.5 dWAR and no real third baseman to replace him for the time being. Defense may be an overlooked part of the game, but it is extremely important and must be considered when making these decisions.

  4. Steevy
    August 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Campbell’s defense at 3rd base scares me.If David is injured that’s another story.

  5. pepper
    August 6, 2014 at 9:46 am

    DL for his own good, a player will always want to be on the field. TC has to over come this stigma of his of asking if you are OK to go. You have a qualified medical staff to aid in these decisions.

  6. Jerry Grote
    August 6, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I think you’ve got the right idea, but the wrong replacement player.

    Flores to 3B, let Campbell get his reps in LF.

  7. 1962
    August 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    What? Enough already with the stupid numbers that cannot be explained. While he is not hitting at his usual click, how many on the team are hitting better? The answer is 3 have a better average, 3 have more home runs and only 1 has more RBIs. So, while he’s on the bench who are you playing to replace those numbers. Not like this team isn’t already offensively challenged.

  8. Steve L
    August 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Assuming the Mets don’t go on a tear over the next few weeks, they should think about shutting down Wright for the rest of the season in September. No need to put more miles on his tires if they’re out of the race.

    I’m with JG, put Flores at 3B and see what he can do. He hasn’t him much in the majors yet but he isn’t exactly getting regular at bats, either.

    Heck, let’s go for a big youth movement in September:

    C: d’arnaud/Plawecki
    1B: Duda/Campbell
    2B: Murphy
    SS: Reynolds/Muno
    3B: Flores
    RF: den Dekker
    CF: Lagares
    LF: Nieuwenhius

    Rotation: deGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero, Colon

    They can still find at bats for Granderson against lefty starters and relievers, or DHing in AL parks (if they even have any September games in AL parks). They can move Gee to long relief and shut Niese down along with Wright, as I don’t think his shoulder is completely healthy, either. Colon isn’t part of the long term plan, but they’re paying him to eat up innings so may as well keep having him do so.

    • Jerry Grote
      August 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      … “I’m with JG”

      said Steve L almost never.
      :)

      • Steve L
        August 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        I’m as surprised as you are!

    • Peter Hyatt
      August 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Steve L!

      If we are not in the Wild Card race, play the youngsters.
      If the choice is between Chris Young and any youngster, play the youngster.

      If we are still in the WC race, consider giving David Wright a chance to rest his shoulder by letting Wilmer man third base.

      I see us playing youth in either scenario.

      After a single month of production, Curtis Granderson is back to his season norm. Offense is our issue, not pitching. Play a youngster. See if Matt D Decker can equal his hitting in AAA.

      • Steve L
        August 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

        If the choice is playing Chris Young and leaving LF empty…leave it empty!

        To be clear, I don’t think Granderson’s a problem, but if there’s nothing to play for may as well give him some rest in September as he’s 33. He can still start 2-3 games a week and PH in most others, then he’s back to being the starting RFer in 2015. It’s more about giving the younger OFs more opportunities.

  9. Scott Ferguson
    August 6, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Wright isn’t having his normal year, but he’s still a top 10 third baseman in MLB in multiple categories (doubles, RBI, hits and WAR). Injury may be the cause of him not having a great year, but he’s remained productive relative to his position. Saying that, I wouldn’t be opposed to him sitting in September if he’s that hurt.

  10. Patrick Albanesius
    August 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    As a follow-up, Wright has said that his shoulder is not the issue and that he has been tinkering with his approach too much. All well and good. However, with the Mets slowly losing their grip on the season, I see no advantage of having even a potentially hurt Wright swinging away and diving for balls, only to re-injure that shoulder. I agree that Flores may be a better 3B two week replacement though. However, I don’t assume that this injury would shut DW down for the year, and it would be a real shame if that did happen. I firmly disagree that this is simply the David Wright we’ll get from now on.

  11. August 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Daniel murphy should be the new captain and should be batting 3rd. David wright should be moved up batting 1st. the Mets have an attendance problem. that will surly be corrected if they made an announcement that they are going to get Wally bachman to finish out the season as there manager, Collins has failed. Wally is a Met favorite, turn him loose. that will bring a lot of excitement and fill those empty seats.

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