Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | Twitter |
There are a few questions I have while sitting here basking in the fun of Spring Training. I know it's fake baseball and that the games don't count. But, still, there are some questions and thoughts, especially when it comes to first base.
I have been #TeamDom from the beginning, and I've already advocated about how he should have had a shot to contend for first base. But things aren't looking so good this spring for him. From not being in the lineup for the first game due to being late, to a strained quad, he's not getting the reps he needs.
This likely means Adrian Gonzalez is a shoe-in for the starting role at first. But, should Gonzalez be trusted to take on this role full-time? He says that he is, but what does his playing say? Is he too old for a starting role, or for handling first?
Well, his bat hasn't really been talking. Including Tuesday's game, he was hitting .167 with just three hits. And his defense? Last season with the Dodgers, he had a DRS of -2 in just 71 games.
I didn't want Gonzalez on this team from the get-go, and I know many others felt the same way. But, there's nothing we can do about that now, except hope that he can contribute. So far, though, it's still a worry.
With Smith's uneven Spring Training, one can assume he won't be ready to take over at first to the degree at which everyone would've expected him to. But who takes over then, if Gonzalez can't handle the job?
Jay Bruce may be the option, especially if Michael Conforto returns earlier than expected -- and this is a prime reason why the Mets went after an outfielder who could play first -- to have this extra depth.
But, I don't want to forget about Wilmer Flores.
At this point, we all know that Flores can fill in anywhere in the infield -- we saw it for the majority of last season. Flores has proven he can step in and be a good back-up, and has had more time at first than Bruce.
What could likely happen is Bruce in against right-handed pitchers and Flores against lefties, as we all know how great Flores is against lefties. Last year, he hit .291/.309/.553 against lefties and .262/.306/.459 against righties. If Flores' numbers stay up against righties, I'd personally like to see him at first over Bruce. But that may just be me. The Mets will obviously have to figure out who plays where and how to split time if this scenario were to happen.
There's also the question revolving around Gavin Cecchini, and everything that he has shown so far, which has surprised me more than I thought it would. After primarily being a shortstop during his minor league career, he's been mostly at second base for the Mets, but has learned how to play third base as well.
Plus, Cecchini doesn't seem to mind where he plays too much, as long as he's on the roster.
"I really believe I'm a middle infielder, and I think [the Mets] do too. That's where my position is," Cecchini recently said. "But hey, listen, you have to make the team somehow."
So, why not give him some time at first during Spring Training in order to expand his repertoire? I mean, if Flores got time practicing this spring in the outfield, and Jose Reyes has been given time in major league games in the outfield, why not give Cecchini -- who has already made it known that he wants to be a jack-of-all-trades -- some time at first?
Smith will likely be the long-term answer, but it will be interesting to see what the Mets do at first base in the meantime if things don't work with Gonzalez.