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Mets Third Base Dilemma

Simply put, third base was the biggest hole the New York Mets had this offseason, and they did nothing to address it. Now, they’re scrambling.

The incumbent, J.D. Davis, is the worst defensive player in baseball. Not hyperbole, his DRS is literally the worst since joining the Mets.

With the Mets not improving, they’re starting to sell he’s improved there. They even point to Francisco Lindor working with him. There are two problems to this.

First, it’s useless talking point we hear every Spring akin to “best shape of their life.” Second, Davis is still quite bad in the videos promoting his defense.

Really, he can’t play the position, and the Mets need to stop trying to make it work. The problem is if not Davis, then who?

Yes, the answer is literally anyone else on the team would be better, but that’s also not a good answer. One early talking point is the idea of a Davis platoon with the left-handed hitting Jonathan Villar.

Villar, too, is a bad defender. Over the last two years, he has a -12 DRS in the middle of the infield. The counter-argument is third may be an easier position to play and a better fit for him.

However, that point ignores the disaster Jose Reyes was at third. Players in defensive decline just don’t automatically stem the tide and thrive at third. That’s an important consideration for a player in Villar who hasn’t played there since 2016. In that year, he played 346.2 innings there and had a -5 DRS.

So, looking at it, we return to Jeff McNeil, a player who has actually been the Opening Day starter there the last two seasons. He also has a career 5 DRS and 3 OAA there in his career.

Yes, he had a tough stretch there last year, and he had a tough Spring Training game. Even with that, he’s still been FAR SUPERIOR than the players who are under consideration for third. If you couple that with the ability to put Luis Guillorme and his Gold Glove caliber defense at second, it’s hard to argue there’s a better option.

The only problem is the Mets seem to be reluctant to both put McNeil at third and to play Guillorme everyday. It’s a bizarre thought process with zero sound reasoning given the construction of this roster.

Whatever the case, this is how the Mets built their team. It’s imperative they put their best players on the field in the best position to succeed and help the pitching staff who induces a lot of grounders.

Short of the Mets making that trade for a third baseman, they’re stuck trying to figure out a dilemma they failed to address this offseason. Rather than push sunk costs, lost cases, and poor thought processes, they need to do what helps them win in 2021.

6 thoughts on “Mets Third Base Dilemma”

  1. Longtiimefan1 says:

    There is no third base dilemma. JD is the Mets primary third baseman and will be no matter how much you protest it and otherwise promote the anti JD Davis you’ve had since he was obtained from the Astros.

    Jeff McNeil is error machine at third, and showed it again yesterday with 3 more. For his career, 7 errors in 88 chances at third, .920 fielding percentage which is awful.

    Draft Kings rates JD #20 among third basemen.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Please be serious

  2. Giovanni G. Alessi says:

    It seems to me that Guillorme should either start or replace Davis as a relief 3rd sacker, whether that comes after Davis 2nd at bat or the 6th inning should be a game time decision.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      There’s nothing anyone can come up with to suggest Davis should start.

      He’s a ground ball machine, and he can’t Field.

      He’s a bench player.

  3. TheGhostofKelenic says:

    I think McNeil is bad at third. I recall many a game last year or before when I was left scratching my head at his inability to play 3rd. I don’t need metrics, I’ve seen it. Davis is definitely worse. The answer is not McNeil at 3rd Guillorme at 2nd. It’s gotta be McNeil at 2nd Guillorme at 3rd. Davis is a valuable pinch hitter. Why not utilize it? I’d rather have Davis to pinch hit for the pitchers spot in the 7th than Guillorme. Davis did manage a .370 on base last year. He still has value… Just not at 3rd.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Stop judging players by a bad stretch coming out of a bizarre COVID season.

      All of his life, McNeil has been good at third. He will be again if he’s put back there.

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