Can David Eckstein Replace Lo Duca’s Intensity?

An article by posted on November 17, 2007

Much has been made about Paul Lo Duca’s clubhouse leadership and his on-the-field intensity. And now that the Mets have moved on without him, who will fill that void?

Maybe the Mets are already seeking the answer to that question when they decided to meet with David Eckstein for dinner early this week. Willie Randolph, Omar Minaya and others, met with Eckstein to discuss his interest in filling the void at second base for the Mets.

While I do agree that Eckstein is probably cut out of the same fabric as Paul Lo Duca, would he agree to change his position from shortstop to second base? I am assuming that because he agreed to the meeting in the first place, and is fully aware of the presence of Jose Reyes at shortstop, the answer to that question is quite obvious.

The smallish ballplayer plays with a big heart and will be 32 when the season starts. Last season he hit .309 with three homers, 31 RBI and 10 steals for the Cardinals in 117 games played. He missed some time with injuries.

He is looking for a four-year contract worth $36 million dollars. That’s an average of $9 million dollars per year. It seems very steep to me, and who knows if he will be able to transition well to second base?

Honestly, I believe we need a solid defender at second base who will uplift the defense and give our pitchers confidence in our infield. I do agree we need a new clubhouse leader, but not at the expense of more tangible things like offense and defense.

Maybe we can bring in someone who can platoon with Milledge in right field…

I don’t really know the answer, but I would rather re-sign Luis Castillo for a lot less than $36 million and look to bring in a clubhouse leader in rightfield or on the bench.

Is it to early to name David Wright the team’s captain? He may not have the seniority, but to me, he is a natural born leader, and he does his talking with his level of play and his positive outlook. He is respected by all of his teammates and his desire to win is unparalleled.

Okay, so here’s the plan…

Pass on Eckstein, re-sign Castillo, go get some pitching, and name David Wright captain before the start of Spring Training…

LOL, easier said than done…

*** UPDATE ***

Marty Noble at Mets.com writes today…

The Mets are pursuing a career shortstop to play second base and provide some of the fire the team lacked last season. Free agent David Eckstein — not Luis Castillo — appears to be the Mets’ primary target for second base.

The Mets may see him as source of the grit and resolve their team lacked last season and may believe Eckstein would provide some of the fire Paul Lo Duca provided in his two seasons as their catcher. Lo Duca’s time with the Mets has come to an end unless Yorvit Torrealba, the free-agent catcher they are about to sign, fails a physical examination.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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