Something strange happened the other night for the Mets. Travis d’Arnaud made his first career start at third base for the team. Although he rotated often with Asdrubal Cabrera, the fact of the matter is that he started there. By doing this, the team could be subtly sending a message that the position is potentially up for grabs for next season. Are the Mets preparing for a David Wright-less near future? All the signs point to the answer being a yes.
As we all know, statistical prowess is not what is holding Wright back. He is the all-time leader for many offensive categories for the Mets. He was an unstoppable force for the team at third base from the late 2000’s to until about 2014. Wright was then diagnosed with Spinal Stenosis, which has impacted his ability to play the game mightily. He has been prevented from playing this season due to a shoulder impingement which has limited his throwing ability. This creates an obvious problem for him potentially playing third base. His throws were starting to suffer before the shoulder injury, add in that injury and it may not be a reality that Wright can make the long throw across the diamond.
The Mets have not only suffered from not having the leadership of Wright on the field, but also not having a consistent option at third base all season. Even General Manager Sandy Alderson has been quoted griping about the situation. In an article by Mike Puma of the New York Post, Alderson stated ““We don’t have an everyday, top-shelf third-base option the way some teams do…Not that we have played terribly at third base, but we didn’t go into the season with a solidified situation in part because we weren’t sure what David’s condition would be.”
It remains unseen if Wright would be able to play another position, besides making an occasional pinch hitting appearance. It would be an inopportune time for him to try his hand at first base, with Dom Smith finally up in the big leagues. There have been recent rumors that the Mets would be willing to look for a third baseman in the trade market. Steven Matz, who has had his fair share of struggles on the season, is rumored to be a central trade chip if they were to pursue a trade option at third base. Matz, a young lefty, has put together a rather unimpressive string of starts as of late. His age and contract control could possibly enticing to a team willing to dangle a third baseman. He is 26, and under team control until 2021.
The New York Mets organization has been
slowly putting off the end of Wright’s career. Ultimately, it is his decision on when to step away from the game. He still believes that he can come back and be productive. While that would be a great story for the press, it may not exactly be a reality. The organization is slowly taking steps to move away from Wright at third base, even if it is as little as keeping Cabrera around for next season to play the position, or having d’Arnaud play a game there. It would truly be a miracle to see Wright play third base for the Mets again.