Per ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the New York Mets are one of four teams interested in recently released infielder Brett Lawrie. The other interested parties are the Blue Jays, Royals and the Rays.
At the start of spring training the New York Mets seemed to have a glut of infielders. With Lucas Duda seemingly healthy, the apparent return of David Wright and the resigning of Jose Reyes and Neil Walker the team appeared to be set on the infield. A couple of weeks later the infield situation is a bit murkier. Duda received cortisone shots to his hips and Wright’s career is looking to be in doubt. Even with these developments the Mets still have Walker, Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores to play the infield. Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce have also been discussed as possibilities of receiving playing time at first base as well.
Aside from these options the team has Amed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini, and Matt Reynolds all on the verge of being ready for the majors at Triple A. Rosario will most likely start the season at Las Vegas where the Mets will look to get him one more year of seasoning before bringing him up either as a September call up or to start next year when Cabrera’s contract expires. Reynolds is ready to join the big club as a reserve infielder and Cecchini is being played at second base to groom him as a possible replacement for Walker after this season.
With all these infield possibilities, does signing a player like Lawrie even make sense? Lawrie is coming of a season in which he hit .248 with 12HRs and 36 RBI in 94 games. He can play second and third base which gives him some versatility and is a right-handed hitter which is something the Mets could use. The real question for the Mets is if he is a better option than say Wilmer Flores who is clearly a more productive hitter and a defensive liability. Flores has crushed lefties over the course of his career and could be platooned at third base with Reyes. Lawrie seems like an interesting option but a bit unnecessary for the Mets.
When given the opportunity to play third base on a regular basis in 2012 with Toronto, he led the league in errors committed with 17 but was first in Total Zone Runs at third with 14. The Mets could use him as a late inning defensive replacement as well as a power bat from the right side off the bench. They will face some competition for his services from the other three teams though the Mets may be the closest to contending for a title currently among these four teams.
I believe the Mets should stay the course with the team they got. If they are forced to find a long-term replacement for Wright they should call up either Cecchini or Reynolds until they can make a deal for someone before the deadline or sign someone in the off season.