The big discussion around the Mets these days (well, other than Madoff, the Wilpons, and Finkle…I mean Einhorn) is what they will do with Jose Reyes. In his contract year, Reyes may be playing the best baseball of his career, showing everyone around the league why he is arguably the most exciting leadoff hitter in baseball. He’s hitting triples, stealing bases, and is one of the few Mets who has not been injured this year.
Coming off of back-to-back disappointing, injury-plagued seasons, the prevailing thought was that Reyes would be a goner after his contract expired at season’s end, or he would be dealt by the July 31 trade deadline before he left as a free agent. However, with Reyes showing just how important he is to the team at the plate and in the field, the Mets may consider trying to lock up Reyes after all.
Of course, with the Mets financial woes, they likely will need to clear payroll to pay for Reyes. With Santana and Bay unmovable, the focus has shifted to David Wright. Once considered the Mets’ next captain, Wright has struggled since the move to Citi Field. He has shown flashes of being one of the best third baseman in baseball, but Fred Wilpon‘s comments in the infamous article in The New Yorker were actually dead-on: Wright is a very good player, but not a superstar.
As someone who owns a David Wright jersey, I never thought I’d see the day where Wright would be dealt. He has often proclaimed wanting to be a Met for life, and he has been the face of the franchise since the departure of Mike Piazza. Wright has shown to be more durable than Reyes (this year’s back injury notwithstanding), but if you look at the big picture, who is more replaceable? If you take a long, objective look, it’s Wright.
That being said, Mets fans are hoping that Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons can find a way to keep both Reyes and Wright. But at the end of the day, will it matter? The Mets have had both Wright and Reyes on the left side of the infield for most of the past decade, and here is what they have to show for it:
First Place Finishes: 1
Playoff Appearances: 1
World Series Appearances: 0
Monumental Collapses: 2
Maybe the departure of one of the Mets “core” players isn’t the worst thing. I mean, how much worse can things get with the Mets?
Affliction: David Wri-tis
Type A (Diagnosed in 2009)
- Major Symptom: Loss of power, resulting in the inability to hit home runs.
- Causes: Moving to a spacious ballpark in Flushing, NY
Type B (Diagnosed in 2010)
- Major Symptom: Loss of ability to make consistent contact, resulting in an alarming increase in strikeouts. Power may return, but will be overshadowed by the inability to make contact.
- Causes: Overcompensation for Type A David Wri-tis
I like Jason Bay. In 2008, Bay went from the oblivion of Pittsburgh to the heat of a pennant race in Boston. Not just that, he was asked to replace Manny Ramirez in the Red Sox lineup after the “Manny being Manny” act had run its course in Boston. It would have been understandable to see Bay struggle or put up so-so numbers, but he immediately produced and provided clutch hits down the stretch for the Sox. After a productive 2009 in which Bay hit a career-high 36 home runs, the Mets signed him to add some much-needed power to their lineup.
Unfortunately for the Mets, that power is non-existent. Through a quarter of the season, Bay
has one home run. ONE. Power hitters tend to be streaky, and Bay has a reputation for being a streaky hitter, but at some point, that should equate to a power streak, right? It hasn’t happened.
To his credit, Bay hustles, faces the media every day, and appears to provide solid leadership in the clubhouse. But you can see this power outage wearing on Bay. Last night against the Yankees, after another towering fly ball out, Bay could be seen shouting expletives as he ran down the first base line.
Maybe Bay should talk to Rod Barajas, who seems to have avoided David Wri-tis. Hopefully for the Mets, Bay will find his power stroke. Without that power, it’s going to be another long season for Mets fans.
Sorry, David, but your training session with “The Situation” hasn’t worked. After a decent Spring Training and a home run on Opening Day, Mets fans hoped we would see the David Wright of old in 2010. Instead, we are left to wonder if we will ever see that David Wright again.
Remember when David Wright was one of the best 2 strike hitters in the league? The announcers would always remark about how “now the at bat was beginning” when he had 2 strikes. Wright would battle, foul off tough pitches, and though he would strike out his fair share, it was usually only after multiple foul balls. He was also one of the best in the game at going the other way, hitting line drives to right and right center.
So what happened? 2009 was a miserable season for Wright. It’s not often that you would label a season in which someone hit .307 as miserable, but I don’t think many could dispute that. His homers dipped from 33 to 10 – yes, just 10! And despite 100 less at bats than the previous season, he struck out 22 times MORE than he had in 2008. It’s one thing to see an increase in strikeouts coincide with an increase in power, but to see power numbers disappear and see the K’s pile up, you have to wonder – what is going on?
2009 was a mess for the Mets on many levels. The team was absolutely decimated by injuries. With no protection in the lineup, pitchers had no reason to pitch to Wright, so it’s understandable that he might try to expand the strike zone as a result. Citi Field also was a factor, but it’s not like Shea Stadium was Coors Field. However, the change did affect Wright more than others due to the expansive alley in right center. At Shea, you’d often see Wright homer to right center or into the right field bullpen. At Citi, those drives were long outs. Was he consciously (or subconsciously) trying to pull everything as a result? The icing on the cake for 2009 was when Wright was hit in the head by a Matt Cain fastball and was forced to the DL with a concussion.
So now it’s 2010. The Mets added Jason Bay to provide some protection, and though he hasn’t been producing at all (I’ll beat up on Bay soon enough), the supporting cast around Wright is clearly superior to last season. Wright has shown more power this season (he already has a 7 – WOW!), but he is striking out at an even more alarming rate, on pace to strike out over 200 times. His stance keeps changing (he’s crouching, he’s upright). Through it all – even when he has been getting hits – it’s not the same. He’s not making the same contact (that is, when he makes contact). He’s rarely hitting the ball to right field. When he gets to 2 strikes, it’s over. He’s somehow hitting .272, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it.
So what’s the answer to this “situation?” Is it mental? Is it the hitting coach? Hopefully Wright and the Mets can get this figured out soon, because the Mets will never be right without the old Wright.