With David Wright out, who’s on third?

Eric Campbell“Who’s on third?” is a question that’s been asked by Mets fans over the years as much as Abbot and Costello.  According to the UltimateMets database, 153 Mets players have manned the hot corner since the team’s 1962 inception.  Make that 154 while we wait for the webmaster to add backup catcher turned emergency third baseman Anthony Recker to the list. Recker was not the first catcher to jump in unexpectedly. Among the names of Mets who’ve played third for five games or less includes Gary Carter, Mackey Sasser and Sandy Alomar.

Counting only players who’ve manned the position at least 25 games, the Mets have still had 55 third baseman over their 53 seasons. As any long-time Mets fan knows, prior to David Wright taking over in 2004, the position was more or less a revolving door. Wright has played 1505 games at third and counting. Next up on the list are Howard Johnson (835), Wayne Garret (711) and Hubie Brooks (516).  During the four years between Garret and Brooks, the Mets trotted out a collection of players that included Roy Staiger, Lenny Randle, Elliot Maddux, Richie Hebner, Alex Trevino and a dozen other short term fill-ins, including future managers Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine.

For the twelfth season in a row we know who’s on third. However, as he gets on in age, Captain America seems to be more prone to injury, his latest another strained hamstring.  So, once again, we find ourselves asking, “who’s on third?”

The short term answer seems to be Eric Campbell. The super sub who can play every position but pitcher surprisingly didn’t make the opening day roster despite his versatility, a solid spring training and a decent year last season. Campbell was tearing it up in Las Vegas and can play the position well enough.  Assuming Wright’s hamstring doesn’t take more than a few weeks to heel, Campbell should provide sufficient coverage. But what if it turns out to be more serious or what if Wright suffers a bigger injury – then what? There are plenty of other options, from calling up a player from triple A, to making a trade, to re-organizing the infield, but it’s a little complicated.

  1. Daniel Murphy (with four options)
    1. Ruben Tejada plays second and Wilfredo Tovar is called up to back up the middle infield.
    2. Wilmer Flores moves to second and Tejada takes over at shortstop. Tovar is called up.
    3. Matt Reynolds is called up to play second.
    4. Dilson Herrera is called up to play second.
  2. Wilmer Flores (with three options)
    1. Tejada takes over at shortstop. Tovar is called up.
    2. Reynolds is called up to take over shortstop.
    3. A trade is made for a shortstop.
  3. Matt Reynolds
  4. Eric Campbell
    1. Tovar is called up.

13 comments for “With David Wright out, who’s on third?

  1. Tyler Slape
    April 17, 2015 at 10:22 am

    The problem with moving Murphy or Flores over to third base is that they will not be there permanently and the Mets want to give them reps at the positions they will be manning mostly. They have said repeatedly that Flores is the Mets shortstop. Yes, he profiles much better as a third baseman, not the greatest range, but a strong arm. Once Wright comes back Flores would be shifted back to shortstop, and he is not as comfortable at short had he been there the entire time while Wright was on the disabled list. Same goes for Murphy.

    Putting either of them at third for a bit, might drive up their value, but the Mets are not in any rush to trade either of them yet. Herrera has not gotten off to a hot start and Reynolds has not been hitting the ball a lot, but has hit it hard. The Mets are looking to be in contention this year for at least the wild card and getting their players the most comfortable in their positions helps them a lot more than sliding them over for 15 games.

    • Jason Langley
      April 17, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Spot on Tyler. I truly believe Flores will eventually hit enough to be a All-Star, but it may take a few years for him to get comfortable. He doesn’t have the opportunity Murphy had, which is to develop under the radar on a team with low expectations. With a Peralta like SS, this team would be the favorite for the WC this year. Flores can become that, but it might not be fast enough, but as long as we’re winning we’ll all live with the learning curve. Everyone has the play the cards they’re dealt fair or not.

      • Name
        April 17, 2015 at 5:32 pm

        “He doesn’t have the opportunity Murphy had, which is to develop under the radar on a team with low expectations.”

        Umm… no and no.

        Firstly, Murphy has hit from day 1 and every second since he’s been in the majors. There has been no developmental period offensively for Murphy.

        Secondly, Murphy came up in 2008. Remember 2008? He was called up on August 1st, injected right in the middle of a postseason push, and certainly wasn’t one of the reasons that the Mets collapsed again.

    • April 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Agreed, Tyler. It seems like they are valuing keeping everyone comfortable, so plugging Campbell in there and not shifting everyone was ideal here.

  2. Metsense
    April 17, 2015 at 11:13 am

    The correct response from the Abbott and Costello Routine is “I don’t know” and it can be applied here with David Wright’s injury.
    Right now I would ride the winning streak and leave well enough alone. Another unmentioned option is to put Cuddyer at 3B with Kirk and Mayberry platooning in LF.
    I am happy to see Soup back but any extended playing time will probably expose him. Hopefully David will be back before that happens.

  3. Matt Netter
    April 17, 2015 at 11:47 am

    In a short-term scenario, which, hopefully this is, I would go with Campbell and not move anyone. In the case of a long-term injury, however, I would shift Murphy over to third, where he would gain train value and give a shot to either Reynolds or Herrera at second.

    • Tyler Slape
      April 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      For me it would depend if the Mets are in contention or not. If the Mets are contending in Reynolds or Herrera are not hitting the cover off the ball in Vegas than it is better to leave Murphy at second.

      I guess it really depends on how long Wright would actually be out and who they think could perform the best between Reynolds, Herrera, Muno, and Campbell. There is not a need to rush the prospects if they are not ready.

  4. Chris F
    April 17, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Well, the issue will almost certainly sort itself out once the Cuddyer contract is up and Wright is forced into left field where he will finish his career. It means the left side of the infield is really up for grabs. There is no way Flores is an every day SS for a playoff caliber team. With Murphy gone soon enough, we have a log jam of maybes in the middle Herrera, Flores, Tejada, Reynolds, and Rosario, who may be the only player with deep promise on the list. Yet 3B seems quite lonely. I dont know is on third…right your are Metsense.

    • April 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      I’m curious, what makes you think that Wright will have to move into LF at all, let alone within the next 2-3 years?

  5. Patrick Albanesius
    April 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Wright’s defense is still quite good at third, and his injuries have not come as a result of playing his position. The organization doesn’t have a ready 3B prospect, other than the hope that Jhoan Urena will keep on developing. But he’s at least two years away still from any serious contention. Wright will keep manning the hot corner for the foreseeable future, and Campbell should be very serviceable in the meantime.

  6. Scott Ferguson
    April 17, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    With Muno on the roster, that will give them more flexibility at third, where Muno, Campbell and Murphy can play. Muno is a switch hitter also, which provides even more lineup flexibility.

  7. BK
    April 18, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I agree that Campbell is the best wait-and-see solution. Hamstring injuries are tricky. They can be over quick or a season-long problem. No sense in a big shake-up until we know Wright will be out long-term.

  8. Matt Netter
    April 18, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Hard to say which one, but I’ve got to think that between Flores, Reynolds, Herrera and Rosario we’ll figure out our middle infield of the future and hopefully it will be better than murphy- tejada.

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