Throughout the offseason and even through the early stages of Spring Training, the New York Mets have made it obvious that they want David Wright to be an integral part of the 2017 season. Of course, on paper it makes sense to want a lifetime .296 hitter slotted into the lineup. But it goes without saying that these past two seasons have been tumultuous on the injury spectrum for Wright. Spinal Stenosis has taken its toll on the captain of the Mets, restricting him to only 75 games over the past two seasons. It has had such a drastic effect on Wright that he has not yet thrown a baseball in 2017. This made the Mets brass think. How could they fit Wright into the lineup when he is a potential fielding and injury liability? Then, the idea struck them: Stick him at first.
Of course, this idea is easier said than done. Wright is entering his age 34 season, and has only played the left side of the infield. Could they teach an old dog new tricks? Possibly, as the Twins did so with Joe Mauer. Mauer had previous experience at the position though, and has had a rather smooth transition. Mark Teixiera was once a third baseman, but of course he made the transition way earlier in his career than Wright would. There is also still the issue of Wright being able to throw the ball. While First Basmen typically throw less than the hot corner, they still make throws that are vital to the game. Whether it be throwing to shortstop to turn two, or throwing home on as a cutoff man, there are throws that simply can’t be ignored.
While there are risks, there could also be potentially be rewards to training Wright at the position. Wright could make starts at First Base when the Mets face a left-handed pitcher. This would make sense because Wright has crushed left-handed pitching throughout his career, while the man slated to start at first, Lucas Duda, has struggled mightily. The Mets could implement a slow transition to first for Wright, starting him there only against left-handed pitching. The experience Wright would gain at first would lessen the blow of the potential departure of Lucas Duda, who will become a free agent at the end of the season. This is a potential situation for a smooth transition of Wright to First Base.
While moving Wright to first may be pure speculation at this point, it may be worth considering. The position will take less of a toll on Wright’s back, which is important if Wright wants to stretch out his career. It could also be beneficial to the Mets, as they would posses an option at first that could hit against left-handed pitching, which could give Lucas Duda some needed games off. While worth considering, the potential issues that may arise cannot be left out of the picture. It is a lot of ifs, ands, or buts for Wright and the Mets to consider entering the 2017 season and beyond.