Should the Mets go after Brett Lawrie?

Brett LawriePer 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.

24 comments for “Should the Mets go after Brett Lawrie?

  1. Metsense
    March 7, 2017 at 8:31 am

    No mention of TJ Rivera? There is no reason to sign this player.

    • James B. Conklin, Jr.
      March 7, 2017 at 9:25 am

      T.J. Rivera .333 with 3 home runs and 16 rbi’s in 2016. He won the batting title in AAA Las Vegas batting .353 with 11 home runs and 85 rbi’s. Plays 2B, 3B, 1B, SS, LF. Has always hit through the minors. Overlooked because of not be drafted. Was overlooked by Joel Sherman too. Mets do not need Brett Lawrie. Amed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini, Matt Reynolds and two surprises in spring training Phillip Evans who won the batting title in AA Binghamton and is known for his defense and Luis Guillorme who is also known for his defense have hit well. L.J. Mazzilli too.

  2. Tommy2cat
    March 7, 2017 at 10:15 am

    No. We don’t need him.

  3. Pal88
    March 7, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I think TJ showed extremely well at the end of last year..he’s Lawrie defensively but with a much better bat.

  4. Chris F
    March 7, 2017 at 11:49 am

    The most wildly disappointing thing about this is that the Mets, despite an obvious situation, have failed to plan for the Dwright “what if” scenario, despite the fact it is more of a “how soon” problem. Regardless of Wright’s status as Mr Met, the team cannot just let hope and prayers be the strategy for managing 3B.

    And so we have a glut of infielders, the best of which on defense may just be Phillip Evans. It just mystifies me this team can remain so shallow at 3B.

    • TexasGusCC
      March 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Chris, if anything Wright’s understudy is probably a better option than Wright at this point. That is, Reyes played a very good 3B and handled his batting responsibilities quite well. Then, you have players like Rivera, Flores, and McEwing (Reynolds) that can step in for a spell, but that’s your third or fourth string anyway. If you ask me to rate the third baseman candidates right now, my take would be:

      Reyes
      Flores
      Rivera
      Wright
      Reynolds

      Wright can’t throw and Aaron Boone last year called him a “guess hitter”. Hence the rise in home runs and strikeouts.

      • Chris F
        March 7, 2017 at 6:03 pm

        And not a single one is an every day major league 3B.

        • TexasGusCC
          March 8, 2017 at 3:38 am

          Reyes is.
          Flores may be, we don’t know for sure. But, his position has proven to be 2B.
          Although the rest aren’t, the Mets have enough.

          • Metsense
            March 8, 2017 at 7:17 am

            Reyes is now but Rosario just may be ready now or after the Super Two date passes. Then they can transition Cabrera to third base (who the Mets have an option on in 2018) and rotate Reyes/Cabrera and Rosario/Cabrera. There is time for all this to play out based upon how the players in question are performing. Depth is wonderful and has already paid dividends in the 2016 playoff drive. Proper utilization of personnel is key.

            • TexasGusCC
              March 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm

              Metsense, you think Rosario, who only played half a year at AA would be ready so soon? We don’t want another Kevin Elster development.

              • Metsense
                March 9, 2017 at 8:30 am

                I don’t think he is ready this spring, and may not be ready by June….. but he is the future. Rosario’s play will dictate when he will be ready along with some business financial/team control considerations.

    • Jimmy P
      March 7, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      I completely support SA’s handling of the complex and difficult situation with David Wright at 3B. I think he does have backup plans in place; he doesn’t not have a full replacement in place, because of obvious money concerns.

      This is enormously delicate situation with $68 million on the line, involving doctors, insurance companies, lawyers, and the player himself — who is a legend in NY, worthy of respect.

      I believe the situation will be resolved by the end of this season, possibly sooner. But shoving Wright out to pasture would be an ugly move — a disgraceful move — and a good way to ensure that the team will owe the entirety of $68 million. Whereas handled deftly, that number could go way, way down (insurance, Wright).

      I like Cabrera at 3B. Reyes will be okay if not overexposed.

      Not a believer in Rivera, personally, but think he could work in small doses. And then there’s always trading for Kelly Johnson.

      Plan B is in place. The new Plan A has not come around yet, and really that seems to be what you are calling for. The timing just isn’t right, IMO.

      The Mets are still committed to giving DW a legitimate shot at claiming that position. Regardless of what they privately think, feel, believe, they are outwardly supportive of a great Met.

      • Chris F
        March 7, 2017 at 6:08 pm

        Quite frankly that’s pure bunk IMO. The game is about the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. Period. I love Wright. Troll through the records and you will find mountains of posts supporting the extension he got. But the reality is that he can no longer play this game daily at an elite level. That much can be seen by anyone. The GMs job is to solve this problem with Wright with all the necessary decorum and diligence due to DW *and* secure the team. As a result, here we are again with 3B a problem filled with stop gap, and openly, terrible options.

        • Jimmy P
          March 7, 2017 at 7:03 pm

          So name your plan. What you would say to Wright, who you would have signed or traded for.

          I don’t think you are advocating any realistic options.

          There are ways of handling this that could mean $30-40 million in either direction, depending on how you treat Wright and what you spend for a new phantom 3B.

          • Chris F
            March 8, 2017 at 9:25 am

            Good grief, he’s a grown up thats made >100M$ in salary and plays baseball. This isnt negotiating some sort of armistice. He is an employee. We are entering the third straight year where he will see almost no play. And so what does this mean? Third base is permanently reserved. When he retires, will we even put a person there? Good grief.

            Scene: Morton’s Steakhouse, 5th Avenue, Manhattan. Private room. Fred, Jeff, Saul, Sandy, and David present.

            David, heres the deal, you are the Captain, Mr Met. We love you. NY loves you. MLB loves you. The fans love you. We invested in you to be a life time Met, to lead our young studs to October baseball. We want you to represent this team forever, long past your playing days, or until you want out of the org. The thing is, you’ve missed most of two consecutive seasons with very serious injuries. We love the dedication and hard work. No one we know would even be able to try to get back on the field — and we have, and will continue to, support you top-to-bottom from the doctors of your choice to endless Barwis methods training. We know you miss the team, and you should know at any time during DL stints the private jet or a first-class ticket is at your disposal to join the club. This team is at its best with you producing as you have. Period.

            We are now at the time to express our deepest concern about your health from baseball and personal perspectives. You are too valuable as a person to your family, and the Mets family, to expose you to situations that could compromise your capacity to be the best person for you family that you will need to be. So we are going to put you on DL for a substantial amount of time. Your contract will be obligated as detailed. We do not expect you to be on the field this season, but have every hope it may happen. On the DL, we want to work with you, your doctors, our doctors, your family, CAA, and Barwis methods to develop a recovery arc to get you back on the field, where you belong. During this arc, we want to co-develop a critical milestones program that secures your return to NY. It will ential getting to a solid base of physical health and baseball activities, including running, hitting, and throwing. Once we hit that mark, we want adding first base to your skills set. You have one of the finest gloves we’ve seen, and that will play at 1B. We need your righty bat in the game. As a consummate professional who knows how critical third base is, we need to have a consistent presence there, and so we are working to make that happen. We need you as the team leader to show everyone in that clubhouse that no one is above the greater good of the team. When you are ready after playing some games at PSL to be sure you are performing at the best level possible, we will embrace your return to CitiField with a grand celebration. We see it happening later this season, with you helping lead the team in October.

            All right, that looks like a pile of med-rare NY Strip steaks heading our way…

            • March 8, 2017 at 10:06 am

              Yeah, I essentially agree with Chris here.

              Any unbiased observer will tell you the Mets have been nothing but respectful towards Wright at least since the time they extended him in late 2012. But at some point it’s no longer respect – it’s foolishness.

              • Jimmy P
                March 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

                But then you are spending every dollar of that contract on Wright. Because he gets released. That’s a lot of money.

                Whereas if they play it a different way, with insurance, or through a mutual agreement, it will likely be a significantly lower amount.

                That’s real world money, not just being tough in a comments section.

                Should he have not been given an opportunity to come back from surgery this season? Is that your contention? Because I don’t think that’s smart or professional.

                • March 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm

                  My opinion is that Wright has earned the right to do whatever he wants to do in Spring Training to get ready for the season.

                  Once the regular season starts, all decisions should be based on what’s best for the Mets and not what’s best for Wright. If the Mets decide the best place for Wright is the DL or 3B or 1B or the bench – whatever they determine is best for the team, that’s what they should do.

                  I don’t believe Wright’s ego is so fragile that the Mets have to base their decisions on not upsetting him. He’s not the kid in the Twilight Zone episode where everyone walks around on egg shells because they are afraid of what he might do to them if they piss him off.

                  My opinion is that Wright wants to play. And once he makes the decision that it’s no longer possible for him to play at a level that he finds satisfying that he’ll walk away. He’s not going to go through the charade of going on the DL every year or going to Florida and then traveling with the team for six months to make 20 starts, sit on the bench the rest of the time unable to pinch-hit and collect a check. Nothing he’s ever said or done indicates he’s wired that way.

                  The Mets will take care of him if and when that time comes. Of this I have no doubt. But the Mets need to make decisions based on optimizing team wins and Wright needs to make decisions based on his happiness and quality of life. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive at this point. I believe a Wright who can play 3B on a semi-regular basis is still an asset for the 2017 Mets. We shall see.

                • Chris F
                  March 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

                  Wrights contract is insured against DL time. That makes this much easier. I’m certain counsel for insurance would get involved, but parking Wright on DL is not killing the budget. Furthermore, the money for contracts is essentially counted on the day the contract is signed. The Mets have already planned for that money to be spent as a guaranteed contract, regardless of his production. This is a mistake fans make all the time, as if there is future leveraging of resources. Of course they are paying him yearly, and already have the capacity to do that.

                  He can no longer play 3B. People get old, get injured and move on. Chipper Jones, a sure-fire first ballot HOFer moved to LF. Just watching some scrub named Phillip Evans play 3B make me realize how poor Wright has become and how bad Flores is. He wont play 3B until he retires. Its not the end of the world.

                  Anyway, I would have beat the Reds up for Frazier in the way back machine, but now I give AJ Preller a call and tell him Seth Lugo is #3 in his rotation and he can have some low level infielder as well for Yangveris Solarte. It will be awesome for him to get help Wright on learning how to play 3B better.

                • TexasGusCC
                  March 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm

                  I, also, agree with Chris; and would add that I don’t think David is as sensitive as you think Jimmy. Anyone who goes and grabs someone’s lunch and throws it in the garbage has balls. He’s not sensitive.

                  I would say however, every detail Chris laid out might be happening, including the agreement, the mirage to con the insurance, and David going along with it so he doesn’t leave money on the table. Alot of money.

                • Chris F
                  March 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm

                  Gus, I do not believe Wright and the Mets would have any business conspiring to commit insurance fraud.

  5. MattyMets
    March 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    No thanks. Lawrie had one good season a long time ago. There’s a reason why he was released by a bad team. The Rays could use him. The Mets? Not so much.

  6. March 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Yes I did overlook Rivera yet another reason that the Mets should look inward for a replacement.

  7. March 7, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    If the Mets are really in the market for a utility infielder, just sign Kelly Johnson now so we’re not trading more talent to Atlanta.

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