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Mets Desperately Need A New Third Baseman With Few Free Agent Options

The New York Mets have a number of needs this offseason, and they’re oft discussed. However, the biggest one that’s overlooked is the giant hole at third base.

Simply put, the Mets cannot afford to put J.D. Davis there again. He’s been terrible at the position in his career, and there’s really no reason to expect any different in 2021.

In his career, Davis has a -19 DRS and -5 OAA in 770.0 MLB innings. With his posting a -8 DRS and -3 OAA at the position in 2020, it would appear his skills are regressing instead of progressing. When you break it down, he’s no more than a 1B/DH thereby leaving the Mets searching for a third baseman.

That’s a spot which likely would’ve gone to Jeff McNeil, who had his own issues at third. However, with Robinson Cano‘s suspension, it would seem McNeil is the everyday second baseman. Accordingly, the Mets will have to look outside the organization to fulfill their third base vacancy.

That is problematic because the options available aren’t great.

As previously addressed, former Met Justin Turner is probably the best option. There are underlying issues with Turner including his age, and whether he’d be willing to return to Queens.

After Turner, one popular name in some circles is DJ LeMahieu. There are a number of reasons to be skeptical of LeMahieu including his stats being Yankee Stadium fueled, his price tag, and his declining defense. There’s also the issue of his not actually being a third baseman even if he can reasonably be expected to transition.

After those two, it’s a pretty severe drop-off. Former Mets Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are probably the next best options, but at this point in their careers, they’re best served being utility players.

Of course all of this depends upon your impression of Ha-Seong Kim. The Kiwoom Heros of the KBO have posted him. With that, he really looks to be the first KBO shortstop entering his prime to come to the MLB.

MLB Trade Rumors calls Kim a “unicorn given his blend of age, power, speed and defensive aptitude at a premium position.”

While Kim is a shortstop, he’s split time between short and third. It will be interesting to see how well he could play in the majors. That said, he’s awfully tantalizing in a very shallow free agent group.

In fact, given Turner’s age and LeMahieu’s many question marks, Kim may be the best option available. In fact, he could be the only real option available to the Mets.

With that being the case, the Mets are in a very difficult situation. They’re either looking to overpay Turner or LeMahieu to get them to come to a team they don’t necessarily want to join, or they’re rolling the dice on Kim. After that, it’s either an internal option or a trade, which is much easier said than done.

15 thoughts on “Mets Desperately Need A New Third Baseman With Few Free Agent Options”

  1. LongTimeFan1 says:

    JD’s fine at third as long as he starts rather consistently. He’s defense declined when Todd Frazier was given a bunch of playing time. Luis Rojas and the Mets coaching staff are almost surely aware of that.

    This offseason, JD can fully focus on third base, which should also help.

    This past season following an offseason of targeted training, JD accomplished what I knew he could – increase his speed to major league average, 27.0 feet per second – or close to it. MetsDaddy insisted it couldn’t be done. Instead, JD exceeded it – averaging 27.2 feet per second, faster than McNeil and Conforto.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      JD’s defense has always been horrendous. He was terrible at third and left.

      As for the discussion about speed, that improvement is negligible. I’ll also note you were one of many who swore I was wrong in saying JD couldn’t handle LF.

      In the end, JD was atrocious in LF, and he was just as bad at 3B. Don’t be surprised when that is the case again.

      1. LongTimeFan1 says:

        The speed gain isn’t negligible. 26.3 to 27.2 is very good.

        As for defense, he has to improve but I’m confident he has good enough tools to become average defender.with plus arm. He’s best suited to play one main position and focus mainly on that. For us, unless he’s traded or Mets obtain a proven, all around third baseman, he’s going to be our third baseman in 2021.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          It’s less than a full stride. It’s negligible, especially when he was actually worse defensively.

          He has zero defensive tools. He’s bad. Time to move on from him.

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    oldbackstop and Metsdaddy –

    A team has to know what it has and how to get the most out of that player.

    As we saw with JD Davis, give him consistent playing time at third and he will play solid defense. We saw that improvement, even making a number of highlight reel plays.

    If his consistent playing time at third is taken away, his defense suffers. At this point, he needs the continuity to build and maintain confidence that he doesn’t again get the yips.

    At this point, there is no hint of anyone other than Davis starting at third. No rumors, nothing..

    As for his foot speed, he made significant improvement. That’s MetsDaddy refuses to acknowledge that, doesn’t make it less so. Baseball is a game of inches and bang bang plays. Gaining a foot per second is extremely consequential on the basepaths – and in general for anyone who plays outfield. JD has quality OBP, so improved footspeed helps the team.

    I agree McNeil didn’t play well at third in short 2020 sample size, that he doesn’t have strong arm. I’m OK with him at second. His bat is really good when he doesn’t try to be power guy. What we need from him is high OBP, putting ball in play, using whole field and being tough out. He can do that. Hitting homers is bonus – and he proved in 2019 he can do that. I hope it’s completely out of his system and he continues to concentrate on being great hitter, having great AB’s, keep the swing path level.

    He’s also very valuable for his defensive versatility even though he has some deficiencies and doesn’t have the speed he had in the minors before injuries took away that plus tool.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      No, JD has NEVER played well anywhere defensively. He’s terrible.

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