A potential backup solution to David Wright, and valuing Dilson Herrera
In David Wright’s absence from the middle of April until the end of July, the Mets used Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell, Daniel Muno and Daniel Murphy as his alternatives while they waited and hoped he would return.
As the summer rolled on, the Mets remained uncertain if Wright would actually come back, prompting them to strike a deal with the Braves to acquire Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson for middle infield depth, and both helped create new and necessary big league depth to help mitigate Wright’s absence.
But both of them – particularly Uribe – are now free agents, and are uncertain to return. As such, the Mets have begun thinking about contingencies in the event they are unable to sign a quality backup infielder.
One of those contingencies, according to Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, is using Wilmer Flores as their backup to Wright.
Flores would certainly be a less expensive solution to the problem, as he’s still earning the league minimum and can conceivably provide the same output as Uribe could as that backup. If Flores is the primary shortstop, he could theretically shift to third base when Wright needs a day off, and Ruben Tejada can then play shortstop.
But this is far from a great defensive alignment on the left side of the infield. The Mets would still need to find quality depth on the infield, as they learned before they acquired Uribe last summer.
That depth could be partially created if they were to sign a primary second baseman – such as Ben Zobrist – as that could send Dilson Herrera to the bench and give the club a right-handed bat with speed in that role.
Then again, if the Mets signed a second baseman, they would really have to figure out Herrera’s place and value in the organization altogether. He doesn’t really do them any good in a bench role, but he doesn’t do them any good wasting at-bats at Triple-A if he’s mastered that level, either.
Could Herrera be more valuable to the Mets in a trade, if the Mets sign a veteran second baseman?
He’s still only 21, and he’s done it all at every level with the exception of the big leagues to date. He makes contact, he has power, he has first-to-third speed, he’s strong and he is an improving defensive player. If there’s going to be no place for him at the top of the depth chart for the next 3-4 years, this could be the route the Mets find the most value with in Herrera, as there could be a lot of interest in a player like this who is close to the big league level.
Hypothetically, the Yankees would be a good match as Brian Cashman has said publicly he’d want a more well-rounded solution at second base if they were to upgrade. The Dodgers could also have a need as they look to reduce their payroll and become more athletic as well.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the Mets actually sign a replacement to Murphy at second base, or whether or not they’re ready to put the future of the position in Herrera’s hands.
If the Mets decide to put their faith in Herrera, it will undoubtedly come with growing pains at first. In a way, his cups of coffee at the big league level have already come with growing pains.
But he’s an excitable five-tool capable player, and having that in a cost-controlled manner over the next three years is hardly something to discount, especially with a payroll which is starting to balloon naturally from raises through arbitration.