As I write this, the Rays and Rangers are locked in a game in the bottom of the 9th, and the hated Yanks have gotten the jump on Justin Verlander in the first inning. More pressing concerns are afoot however (Ok, not really) in the form of the Mets’ second base competition. No matter who Terry Collins awards the job, at least we know there is no Luis Castillo to worry about … unless Collins decides to award Luis Hernandez another shot … and he wouldn’t do that, right?! Enough with the snark, time to take a look at the Metropolitans’ options at second as of right now.
Ruben Tejada (.284/.360/.335): If he can manage to hit .260-270 I would not mind him in the lineup every day solely based on his defense. Tejada looked much better then last year, when he looked completely overmatched. If the Mets infield remains healthy (stop laughing!), I think the sacrifice in offense is a nice tradeoff. He battles at the plate and is still young (21) with plenty of room for improvement. However, he will find competition from the next guy on the list…
Dan Murphy (.320/.362/.448): The beloved gritty, blue-collar Irish Hammer sure can hit. He smacks extra base hits all over cavernous (for now) Citi Field and even comes through in RBI situations. But, as it goes with Murph, where does he play? If he performs competently in the field, he has a shot at winning the job outright. I certainly would not mind seeing his swing in the lineup everyday.
Justin Turner (.260/.334/.356): Big Red was a nice story early in the season, but was exposed as the year went on. Turner showed occasional gap power but not enough consistently. Despite showing some flaws, he proved he can play the field and provide some offense at the major league level. Expect him to be a key player off the bench next year.
Josh Satin: (.200/.259/.240): He did not get enough playing time to really see what skills he has, though he seemed to get two hits every game in AA and AAA this year. Supposedly, he is a lot like Murph: great bat, but no position. If Turner gets hurt or traded, there could be a spot for him on the bench. But you can expect Satin to be starting the year in AAA.
Reese Havens: (no MLB experience: .289/.372/.455 in AA): This is the guy who I want to see patrolling second base sometime next year — if he manages to stay healthy. Havens has one of the best swings in the entire Mets system and is one to watch. Strikeouts and performance against lefties are areas in which he needs to improve. Hopefully he can put it all together and make an appearance in Queens next season.
Jordany Valdespin: (no MLB experience: .297/.341/.483 in AA): Excellent power and speed (33 steals and 15 bombs), but still has room to grow. His addition to the 40-man roster had some hoping he would play in September, but there was no need to start his MLB service clock. From what I’ve read/seen, Valdespin strikes out a lot and also has maturity issues.
The free agent market as of now is very underwhelming, containing the likes of Clint Barmes, Jamey Carroll, Mark Ellis and Kelly Johnson. Of course, all this could change if Reyes declines to re-up with our Mets. Fingers crossed that is not the case. Who do you want to see manning second in 2012?
About the Author
David Gogel is a lifelong Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @troonooyawker.