Mets Spring Training Question 11: Infield Wheels

With 11 days before pitchers and Molinas report, let’s quickly examine the #11 question to be answered during Mets spring training: how will the wheels of the right side of the infield heal?

As you know, both Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy — the two men expected to man the right side of the infield for the Mets in 2012 — are coming off serious leg injuries. It’s easy to just assume that a season-ending stint on the DL coupled with a long winter layoff will result in 100% health, but that’s not always the case. Some injuries — particularly serious ones — can linger for a year or more.

The players, their agents, and the Mets officials can talk all they want about their injuries being completely healed, but we won’t know for sure until they get on the field in Port St. Lucie. I have no doubt that both Daniel and Ike will be able to suit up, field grounders, and take BP — but, I don’t know whether their injuries will affect their running, hitting mechanics, or mobility / range in the infield. That last factor in particular could be the most important — if both players have limited range as a result of last season’s injuries, how many balls will get through the right side of the infield?

What do you think? Is this a valid concern? Are you more concerned about another aspect of their game being affected? Post your concerns — or lack of — 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. Tommy2cat February 10, 2012 at 5:18 am
    Hey Joe:

    You raise a very valid concern. Injuries to the feet, ankles & knees take awhile to recover from fully. A player’s lateral movement is often most affected by injuries to the lower extremities.

    More concerned about the ability of Murphy’s knees to withstand the rigors of 2nd base than Ike’s heel tolerating 1st. Wish Murphy tooled up as a catcher earlier in his career. Oh well…

    One internal solution is to put Murphy at third, his best position, and to move Wright to left & Bay to right. One of Wright’s strengths is his ability to retreat and track pop-ups & short flies. Think he could transition well. Bay has very respectable range.

    Turner & Havens could platoon at 2nd. Package Duda in trade with Colorado for catching prospect Wilin Rosario.

    Just a few thoughts to address a legitimate concern that you raised.

    • NormE February 10, 2012 at 9:13 am
      Good thoughts! A few years back the Braves moved Chipper to left field.
      The main point that you guys have been making is that Murphy’s legs are too injury prone for the physical demands of 2B. He may never be a stellar glove, but is probably safer at 3B.
      Since the Mets are hoping for a rejuvenated Wright so they can move him for young (cheaper) players, why not try the experiment in ST and have them move to the new positions?
      Duda in RF is a shaky prospect at best, so trading him is a good idea since he’s not going to beat out Davis at 1B.
      • HobieLandrith February 10, 2012 at 11:05 am
        It doesn’t make sense to move Wright — who has a Gold Glove at 3B — to make room for Murphy. Then you have bad / inexperienced defenders at two positions instead of one.

        Yeah I know Wright hasn’t been exactly stellar on defense the last few years but he has proven that he CAN BE good with the glove, whereas Murphy has only proven he can’t. And even Wright at his worst on defense is still better than Murphy at his best.

        • Carl February 13, 2012 at 11:46 am
          Umm where has it been “proven” that Murphy can’t be good with the glove? Murph has been at worst an average defender at 1B and 3B. The problem at 2B was not that he was letting balls get through or that he was committing errors, it was that he doesn’t position himself well around the bag which puts him at risk of injury.

          His defense is really not that bad when you talk about allowing runs to score though. Honestly over the past few years Murphy probably is a better defender at 3B than Wright.

  2. DaveSchneck February 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm
    Valid concerns but Johan’s arm worries me more than Wright, Murphy, and Davis combined. I agree with the others that Murphy”s ability to stay healthy at 2B will always be a concern.
  3. Joe February 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm
    Long term, Ike Davis (if healthy) and Dan Murphy (if not traded) seems to be more likely on this team than David Wright. Short term, Murphy doesn’t have a good position if the other two are both healthy. A problem.

    As to Norm, I don’t know enough about Duda in RT to just give up on him there & still want to see more of him before thinking he isn’t in the team’s long term plans. It will take more than a ST to convert DW to an outfielder, which seems real iffy anyways. It is not like he can’t play 3B any more.

  4. BCA February 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm
    I’m going to go out on a limb and say Duda is going to have a really good year. I like the way he plays in general. Not a great outfielder but gets the job done. Havens will come up at some point early june and platoon with Murphy and will take it full time soon there after. Murphy will be traded to an American league team and hit like crazy and play some first base. I hope they work out a deal to keep David Wright for years to come. I believe Ike will be fine at first and range will improve.