The Yoenis Cespedes’ free agency frenzy was not the only piece of news that broke this offseason.
This eccentric idea will seem unfathomable to most Mets fans who spent the last several weeks frantically updating their Twitter feeds. However, a truly interesting debate has once again come to fruition in America’s Pastime: should the National League adopt the Designated Hitter?
It seems ludicrous that a sport with two separate leagues (that ultimately battle each other for a single title) forces each of those leagues to conform to differing rules. There have been two prevailing sides to this debate ever since the American League implemented the DH in 1973.
Arguments that include the concepts of “strategy” and “tradition” are pleading for the league to keep things the way they are. Others that are advocating change base their argument on the premises of highly paid player longevity, entertainment quality of the game, and the expansion of jobs for certain players that don’t necessarily fit the bill as defenders (any of which come to mind, Mets fans?).
While the speculation over the DH has provided fans and people in the media with something to talk about while we all desperately wait for the season to start, there is no need to devote countless time and energy arguing with friends, colleagues, or crosstown rivals about this phenomenon. Robert Manfred, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, has indicated that no such change in the game is imminent (or likely). There is, however, one DH that Mets fans should be concerned about: David’s Health.
David Wright provided the 2015 Mets with an instant boost from his first at bat after his long stint on the DL. While his postseason numbers don’t jump off the page, he did come up with an iconic, timely RBI single (fist pump) against the Dodgers, a great defensive play against the Cubs, and a very important home run in Game 3 against the Royals.
David, given his spinal condition, was forced to arrive at the field several hours before any other player in order to stretch and prepare for a full game. It is utterly unrealistic and ridiculous to think that David can sustain this taxing routine over the course of a full 162. I suspect that David’s playing time this year will not be subjected to a predetermined number of games (100, 120, 130, etc.) Rather, it will be based upon an ongoing conversation between him, the training staff, Terry, and Sandy. David’s veteran presence on the field had an immeasurable effect on the youngsters and clubhouse last season. Management would be wise not to push him too far early on.
David Wright’s first inning home run ignites the Mets in Game 3 of the World Series (Getty Images)
What should the Mets do about the expected numerous vacancies at third? When this question unexpectedly presented itself to ownership last April, the Mets proved to be unprepared to deal with it (forcing Soup into an everyday role until the acquisitions of Johnson and Uribe). However, at the onset of this season, it seems like the Mets will have a number of contingency plans, thanks to Sandy’s emphasis to acquire depth in place to help David remain on the field.
It has been widely suggested that Wilmer Flores will be thrown into a super utility infielder role. Although Flores doesn’t have a ton of experience at third, I think he can excel without having the cumbersome pressure of being an everyday player at an unfamiliar position. Even if Flores doesn’t work out at third, the Mets can give Ruben Tejada a few spot starts or even shift Asdrubal Cabrera over to the hot corner here and there. In addition, the possibility still remains that the Mets can ask Travis d’Arnaud to take some reps at the corner infield positions this spring to add to existing flexibility and improve defensively behind the plate with Kevin Plawecki’s arm.
Mets fans should be at least somewhat at ease given the plethora of weapons that will be present in Terry’s arsenal this season. The influx of new personnel, the invaluable experience of a trip to the World Series, and the resigning of Yoenis Cespedes should take the pressure of being an everyday player off of David Wright’s