Mets Spring Training Question 14: Second Base

With 14 days — yup, just two weeks — before pitchers and Molinas report, we examine question #14 that needs to be answered during Mets spring training: who is going to play second base?

By all accounts, it appears that the Mets will begin spring training with the plan of Daniel Murphy at second base. We’ve discussEd Murphy and 2B here many times before, and even if you are of the belief that he can play the position adequately, there is still the risk of him hurting himself yet again.

If you’re like me and not convinced that second base is the best place for Murphy, then an audition could open up for Justin Turner, Ronny Cedeno, Jordany Valdespin, Reese Havens, and Josh Satin. Yes, Satin can play second base — perhaps, better than Murphy, though that’s not saying much, is it?

From that group, I like Turner — just as I did this time last year. Ask me in five months and my answer might be Havens, but right now, I think Havens needs more seasoning. As for Valdespin, he appears to have the most raw talent of anyone, but there are still questions about his attitude.

As for Murphy, it’s his job to lose. And that is the question: will Murphy prove to be either so inadequate or so dangerous to himself at second base that he won’t be there on Opening Day? My guess is no — mainly because spring training rarely offers enough of a sample size that can be trusted, and there’s a good chance that Murphy makes it through six weeks without breaking something, while the people in charge see what they want to see.

What say you? Do you think there’s any chance of Murphy NOT proving himself to be the starting second baseman in spring training? If by chance he’s not the Opening Day starter, who do you see usurping him? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. SwedeMet February 6, 2012 at 6:25 am
    If Murphy doen’t injure himself during ST he’ll be the Opening Day starter on 2B. I predict that Havens will perform good enough in Buffalo to warrant a call up in May/June and room will be made for him by trading Wright (I hope not) or Murphy (who might have good value).

    Turner is a good bench player and back up, but should not be starting.

  2. JoeBourgeois February 6, 2012 at 9:14 am
    I keep seeing references to “questions about Valdespin’s attitude” and never anything more than that.

    What questions? Or does anybody know?

    • HobieLandrith February 6, 2012 at 9:53 am
      lessee …. John Sickels stated that the kid had a “high-maintenance mercurial personality ” … Wally Backman benched him last year for dogging it … two years ago, he was thrown off the Savannah Sand Gnats for being a problem in the clubhouse … if you’ve ever seen him play, then you’ve likely seen him “forget” to hustle out ground balls. There are other things that have not been reported as widely. Bottom line is he’s got talent, but not the kind of awesome talent that overshadows attitude issues.
      • NateW February 6, 2012 at 11:38 am
        thanks, there are certainly plenty of first hand accounts of his general disinterest in effort. Hopefully he gets it together because the talent is there to have a decent career as a regular at 2B.
        • AV February 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm
          I read somewhere (don’t recall exactly where) that right before being traded to San Francisco, Carlos Beltran reached out to Valdespin and read him the riot act. Apparently Beltran used to spend a lot of time mentoring the minor leaguers during Spring Training every year so they all had a lot of respect for him.

          From what I read (again, I can’t recall which blog or blogs I read it on) Beltran told him about all the guys he’s met over the years with Valdespin’s level of talent that are washing dishes somewhere because they couldn’t get their act together. Supposedly Valdespin responded after that happened. We can only hope he didn’t forget all the sage advice during the offseason.

  3. DaveSchneck February 6, 2012 at 9:45 am
    Go with the Irish Hammer and hope like all heck that Havens stays healthy and can force himself on the scene by midyear if needed.
    • Ben Sargent February 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm
      Are you “the Davey Schneck?” Homers galore first week in the majors?
      • DaveSchneck February 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm
        I’m an admirer of that Davey Schneck.
  4. NateW February 6, 2012 at 11:35 am
    If last years spring training was any indication, the Mets have the opening day roster 99% set and very little will cause them to change anything (Brad Emaus) so Murphy will be starting at 2B so long as he isnt on the DL.
    Turner and Cedeno’s playing time needs to be limited, so I see Havens getting a fair shot if Murphy or Wright or Davis go on the DL. Rather see him starting than to play Turner too much.
  5. Joe Aiello February 6, 2012 at 11:36 am
    Do not give the job to Ronny Cedeno. He’s not good offensively. You’d be better off not blocking someone with a higher ceiling like, Valdespin.

    Trust me as a Cub fan.

  6. Tony February 6, 2012 at 11:43 am
    I think Murph will be adequate enough to play there until Havens or Valdespin can make a case for themselves. If Valdespin continues to get in his own way some other GM might still like him in a trade package cause of his tools..question also, did surgery and more rehab finally help put Havens on tack for healthy season? I hope!
  7. Ben Sargent February 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm
    I’ve seen enough to know he can’t play there everyday. I was curious last year when Terry had Turner at third and Murphy at second when clearly Murph is better at third and Turner is better than Murph at second. Seems to be that no one wants to believe in Turner. That’s unfortuante, he’s a gamer and it seems that he could hit more this year as he continues to develop.
    • HobieLandrith February 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm
      Agreed on Turner. He’s the forgotten man the second spring in a row and I bet he winds up being the best solution at 2B — again.
      • jerseymet February 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm
        Agreed, Turner at second. Murph at third. Wright traded for a catcher.
  8. Jerry M February 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm
    I say that Murphy will exceed at 2nd base and show that it is his. He also will hit .320 again.
  9. Dan Tanna February 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm
    With a productive & “injury free” spring I would start Reese Havens. The only thing that has prevented him from being here already has been injury. He right this minute is superior to Murphy. It is all about fielding your best team for me & it is high time there were some kids w/ actual upside given a chance here. The same thing applies w/ Kirk for me.
    • Jonathan C February 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm
      Agreed, I want Havens right now. Only question is how do we get Lutz into the mix. If we get a substantial offer for DWright, Lutz gives us the chance to contemplate it.
  10. Reese February 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm
    What kind of outfielder or starting pitcher could Murphy help net in a trade? Then you can open up 2B to Satin or Turner until Havens and Valdespin have more time to show they’re ready.

    You have a logjam again at 2B but this time it’s a more pleasant problem with Murphy having hit .320 in the majors, Satin and Turner doing it in the minors, Valdespin having a monster year last year in AA/AAA and Havens allegedly a doubles machine.

  11. Joe February 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm
    They want Murp’s bat, but Turner was the best option at 2nd last year as a whole, and if Davis/Wright didn’t man the corner positions, that is where he would be. The betting man says Murp will be at 2nd at the start, though very well might not be there at the end. Like the guy. Too bad the pressure is there to force a round peg in a square hole. Such is the NL, I guess.
  12. argonbunnies February 8, 2012 at 4:32 am
    If last year is who Turner is, ehn, he’s not a bad fallback, but we might as well see if we can do better.

    However, if that bad thumb was killing his power, then maybe he can do better and deserves a real shot.

    That said, I like Murphy’s bat and don’t know where else to put it.

  13. Kenneth Hicks February 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm
    I’m surprised that everyone is dismissing Justin Turner. He surprised everyone last year with his consistency. Although he dropped off some, I don’t think that completely discounts him as a possible starter: tiredness happens to a lot of first year players. the major league grind is a dramatic change from the minors. In addition, I think Turner is more viable option as a potential leadoff hitter than most of the other Mets. I want to keep Murphey — maybe giving Wright and Turner regular days off?