The Mets suited up 12 different infielders (not counting catchers) in 2016. The opening day lineup featured an infield of Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, and David Wright. Wilmer Flores was the primary backup. Injuries beset all four starters and the Mets filled in with replacements from inside (Ty Kelly, Matt Reynolds, TJ Rivera, Gavin Cecchini) and outside (Jose Reyes, James Loney) the organization. Typically a team carries six infielders, but looking ahead to a season where it’s hard to rely on Wright to stay healthy, it might be wise to assume he’ll wind up on the DL and carry seven infielders – either by stashing an extra infielder in AAA or carrying a versatile player who could also serve as a fifth outfielder, like Johnson or Kelly.
Loney and Walker are not likely to be back and Johnson is a question mark. Here are four infield scenarios for the 2017 Mets:
A) Duda at first, Rivera at second, Cabrera at short, and Wright at third with Flores and Reyes backing up. In this scenario and others, Kelly, Cecchini, and Reynolds start the season in AAA and are ready to step in if needed.
B) Duda/Flores platoon at first, Rivera/Johnson platoon at second, Cabrera at short, Wright at third with Reyes the supersub.
C) Wright/Duda platoon at first, Rivera/Johnson at second, Cabrera at short and either Reyes or Flores at third, with the other serving as the supersub.
D) Duda gets traded. Wright/Loney platoon at first, Rivera/Johnson at second, Cabrera at short and either Reyes or Flores at third, with the other serving as the supersub.
Any of these options will come with questions. If Reyes comes off the bench then who bats leadoff when he’s not playing? If Wright is healthy, where does he bat in the lineup? Can he transition to first base the way Ryan Zimmerman has? Does Wilmer Flores deserve a chance to start at one position and play every day?
Which option do you think makes the most sense?