Rafiki from the Lion King once said, “You can’t change the past. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” Well no offense to Rafiki, but when it comes to this Lucas Duda injury, I choose to dwell on the past. I said all spring that the Mets had no contingency plan at first base. I said in my season preview that arguably the biggest risk in the makeup of our roster was the non-existent depth at first base. I’ve been ranting and raving all season about how Wilmer Flores has never played first base, and we’re screwed if Lucas goes down. Well one of the worst possible scenarios for our lineup has officially unfolded. I guess Wright’s back problems are officially airborne because Lucas needs a backiotomy. The official diagnosis is back stress fractures, and they will keep him inactive for 4-6 weeks minimum. Instead of being well prepared and having a known first base succession plan, the Mets are scrambling. The following options have been thrown around:
1) Conforto To First Base: So the Mets first proposal is to take a 23 year old that they’ve already thrust into the three hole in the batting order and asked to be their franchise hitter, and now they want him to play a position he’s never played before. “Hey Mike, we know you’ve never played first base before and aren’t even a great outfielder, but grab a glove big guy.” Terry already said Mike’s going to take grounders at first. I think this suggestion is so stupid. I think you put Michael Conforto at risk for an injury at first base. How is it going to look if he breaks his wrist trying to slap a tag on somebody or gets caught out of position and gets run over by a base runner? And you create a situation where his lack of confidence in the field could affect him at the plate. Umm hey Mets, remember when we did this to Lucas Duda in the outfield you morons?? The very player we are looking to replace. Let’s do it to Conforto now. Brilliant.
2) Wright to First Base: No offense to David Wright, but he’s liable to throw his back out walking up to the booth to have a ten minute conversation with Keith about playing the position. Pass.
3) Walker To First Base and Herrera to Second Base: Honestly, this scenario appeals to me most of all. We want to see what the young Dilson Herrera brings to the table. The Mets are never going to pay Neil Walker to stay on this team long term. Hell we wouldn’t even extend a modest 3 year 37 million dollar offer to the league’s leading hitter Daniel Murphy (who was our previous contingency plan at first base and literally played there every single season), so there’s no way we’re paying Neil to stay. Walker has no experience at first base either, but he’s a strong athlete. The Mets have all but dismissed this scenario entirely. Better to shove a franchise cornerstone like Conforto out there temporarily than use a one year mercenary who would probably love to increase his free agency value by showing some versatility.
4) Wilmer Everyday: Right now it sounds like the Mets are going to wait until Wilmer Flores finishes his rehab assignment (by week’s end I think), and then install him as the everyday first basemen. Obviously this involves Eric Campbell being promoted to the super-sub/Wright’s full time backup. Any scenario that involves Soup getting a bunch of at-bats and Wilmer’s glove being used in the field (at a new position no less) is definitely the worst possible option. But this seems like the route the Mets will go. Genius!! In Wilmer’s defense, he was a real viable hitter last year, and I think he would benefit from the extra at-bats. But those stone hands are a real net negative.
5) Morse/Loney/Anyone That’s Available: So James Loney is currently playing for the Padres Triple-A affiliate and Michael Morse is currently sitting on his couch in Florida watching Days Of Our Lives and The Price is Right all day. We should be exploring the possibility of adding one of these guys to our active roster. Remember when Juan Uribe was released by the Dodgers last season and instead of signing him at that time we waited for him to rebuild his value in Atlanta and then we gave up prospects for him? Remember? It’s called taking a flier on a guy. We should do it. A flier is better than Soup. I guarantee that anything is better than Soup and Ty Kelly and Josh Satin and Nick Evans and Vinny Rottino and Valentino Pascucci and every other Quadraple-A dude we’ve employed over the last 5 years.
In conclusion, I have no idea how this first base situation will play out, but my meltdown has temporarily concluded. I’m sorry, but this injury news combined with the possible rainout in Washington tonight, and the fact that it’s Monday. It’s just all too much.
P.S.- Yoenis Cespedes needs to be under guard at all times from now on, and when he hits he needs to wear a protective exoskeleton suit similar to the one worn by the aliens in Independence Day. And will somebody please order him some custom chainmail batting gloves. Without Yo it’s all over.