The signing of free agent Jed Lowrie made a lot of sense in terms of adding a good switch hitter who could slot in to the two hole in the lineup. However, despite his versatility, he joins a crowded Mets infield and his arrival – likely in a few weeks – will have a ripple effect throughout the roster.
It is expected that Todd Frazier‘s return will result in Luis Guillorme getting sent back to AAA Syracuse. The smooth fielding middle infielder may get the call again later in the season, but his lack of power and versatility puts him lower on the depth chart. Frazier will temporarily resume his duties at third base, bumping J.D. Davis to a bench role and Jeff McNeil to a more full-time role in left field. Coming off an injury and the worst statistical season of his career, it’s hard to get excited about Frazier’s bat, but he’ll bring a strong glove to third and some leadership and positive attitude to the dugout. And that’s likely where he’ll wind up in a few weeks when Lowrie returns.
Lowrie will likely take over primary duties at third base, pushing Frazier to the bench and either Davis or Dom Smith to Syracuse. This is a tough decision looming. Davis has shown power, and while he’s only seen time at third base, he’s capable of playing five positions – first, third, left, right and relief pitcher. He’s certainly more versatile than Smith, but the lefty first baseman has earned his place with a productive and energetic style of play that suggests a new lease on life. Smith won’t likely see more than occasional spot starts at first to rest Pete Alonso, but he’s proven quite valuable as a pinch hitter and he could play left field in a pinch.
Lowrie will also serve as a backup to two guys who haven’t gotten a day off yet – Robinson Cano and Amed Rosario. In those instances, Frazier will get some games in at third. Given the ages of Lowrie, Frazier and Cano, injuries will be inevitable, so Smith, Davis, Guillorme and/or shortstop Adeiny Hechavaria, who is stashed in AAA, will get their chances.
The infield will be a bit of a merry go-round this year, but depth will likely be more of an asset than a problem. The only way it becomes an issue is if everyone stays healthy for the remainder of the season, and, really, what are the chances of that happening?