Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets will not sign another first baseman before Opening Day, meaning Adrian Gonzalez will enter the season as the team's starting first baseman, with Wilmer Flores playing against left-handed pitchers, reports Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News.
Gonzalez is hitting .191 with a .255 OBP this spring (9-for-47) with one home run -- a wind blown shot to left field that he hit on Tuesday.
A scout told Ackert that Gonzalez' bat speed looks fine but that it looks like his power is gone. Meanwhile, Gonzalez recently said that he wasn't worried about the poor results so far, explaining that he is simply getting ready for the season.
However, Gonzalez has been a solid performer in Spring Training over the course of his career -- hitting .293/.350/.817 OPS -- which closely mirrors his career regular season line of .288/.359/.847.
Spring Training stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but the lack of production from Gonzalez -- whose season was derailed last year due to a back injury and whose offensive production has been trending in the wrong direction for three seasons -- is alarming.
Perhaps Gonzalez simply isn't trying to succeed, instead opting to go through the motions with the starting first base job having basically been guaranteed to him earlier this offseason when he signed a minor league deal.
Or perhaps this is what Gonzalez is now. And if that is the case, how long can the Mets let this go on?
With Dominic Smith still dealing with a quad issue, and with his lateness earlier during Spring Training leading him to be benched, he might not be the person to replace Gonzalez -- at least if it's in the early part of the season. So, where could they turn? Here are the in-house options...
Wilmer Flores, who has crushed left-handers over the course of his career, can slide in as the first baseman against lefties -- and that may be the plan at this point anyway.
It gets more complicated when figuring out who could play first base against right-handers. The most logical candidate, even though he said after re-signing that he would prefer to only play first base in an emergency, is Jay Bruce.
Presently, the Mets are expected to go into the season with Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Nimmo or Juan Lagares, and Bruce in the outfield from left to right. Then there's Michael Conforto, who is seemingly ahead of his May 1 target return date as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.
The above outfield glut by itself might have been enough to unseat Gonzalez from first base. But if his struggles continue into the regular season, the Mets will have to pull the plug even sooner.