Mets Spring Training Battles: The Infield

ike davis david wright

Now that the Mets’ arbitration slate has been wiped clean and all seven players have agreed to deals that they will undoubtedly repay tenfold in Wins Above Replacement (one can always hope), the only thing left to do is wait for those pitchers and catchers to report already. Hurry up, guys…

I know the offseason is still not over, but it certainly feels that way doesn’t it?

I think we’re close enough to the end of this hot stove season that we can at least examine what will most likely be some of the more interesting Spring Training battles in camp. I want to go around the diamond and review the catchers and infielders first, tomorrow I will consider the outfield, and then pitchers on Saturday.

Catcher – Travis d’ArnaudAnthony ReckerTaylor Teagarden, Juan Centeno 

For most of this offseason, it appeared that the Mets were going with a tandem that included D’Arnaud as the starting backstop and Recker as his caddy. Juan Centeno was in the family photo too, but the buzz was that he’d likely serve as the first line of defense in Las Vegas should something go wrong in Flushing. But then the Mets decided to sign Teagarden to a minor league deal and bring him into the fold. You can never have enough catchers, especially if you can never have enough pitchers, right? (ducks) It looks to me like Recker now has some stiff competition for backup duties. May the best man win and all that jazz, but I’m pulling for Recker here, although neither one of them is going to bring home a Silver Slugger anytime soon.

First Base – Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin

So what went wrong? Back in September we learned that Duda wasn’t a core player, that the Mets were unhappy with Davis and some in the organization wanted him gone, and that Satin is well, uh, he’s just Satin. The only sure thing here is that Satin will likely get the lion’s share of playing time against lefthanded pitching – and that’s a good thing. As for the other two, it looks like they’ll be putting on their gloves (not those gloves) and duking it out in the ring, that small circle of dirt around the first base bag. Who would’ve believed that these two would both be in camp together come February? Ron Davis (Ike’s dad) certainly didn’t see it coming and he’s kind of ticked off about it. But he assures us that Ike’s attitude is just fine. Here’s the thing in my opinion… Who ever wins this battle of offensive futility doesn’t really matter because either way the Mets lose. We needed a legitimate masher at first base and the Mets had four months to try and find one.

Second Base – Daniel Murphy, Eric Young?

This isn’t really a battle at all, but there have been some cries to bring Eric Young into the picture at second base, with a possible move to first by Murphy. That may have been something to think about had the Mets traded Davis, but as it stands now, Murphy will stay put at second. Young will likely serve in a super utility role covering all three outfield positions and spelling Murphy at second occasionally.

Shortstop – Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla, Wilfredo Tovar

As of right now, Tejada has the hold on the job. The real battle here will be between Quintanilla and Tovar for the backup infielder role. Given his experience and Terry Collins‘ propensity of going with the veterans regardless of performance, Quintanilla is the solid play here. Tovar is the best defender of the three, but that alone won’t get him on the Opening Day roster. In the meantime, between now and Opening Day, many fans hold out hope that it’s Tejada who will be the backup and that someone better than him will start at short.

Third Base – The Captain

David Wright is like the Alpha Male on the plains of the Serengeti, and as long as he’s in his prime he will remain unchallenged. He is the Mets’ Lion King. Hail Satin will likely get some starts at third to keep Wright fresh, but this is the only position where the Mets are undoubtedly set and good to go.

On Deck: The Outfield

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About Joe D 7835 Articles
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, '00 and '15, 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.
  • WilponsStinkLessNow

    Another horrible off-season due to money woes. Thanks Wilpons. I hate the Colon and Young signings, Granderson is a nice complimentary player but he strikes out way too much to be a middle of the order guy, the bullpen is young and inexperienced with ZERO veteran leadership, and the picture at first base is as muddy as ever. I’m looking forward to watching, as always, but I feel like the off-season spending was more about quieting critics than improving the team. We’re stuck with the Wilpons for another year and their BS ways.

  • WillisReid

    I was all for Young getting playing time last season, why not? But I just get the feeling that TC is going to work OT to try and get his pitiful OBP in the line up as much as possible. Hopefully Lagares does enough with the bat to keep him on the bench.

  • Justin Anthony

    We need more depth at third. I don’t feel comfortable with Satin being the only player capable of playing 3B in the event that Wright gets injured again

  • Anthony

    Infield competition at ss an1b is between bad an worse

  • WillisReid

    Tejada to 3b and Q to SS. Or Flores? Or Murphy.

  • Dave_in_Spain

    You´ll never see Tejada at 3B. If DW went down with an injury it would be Flores or Murphy.

  • Fast Eddie

    I agree. Let Duda and Davis duke it out at 1B; he who wields the best bat in ST wins the job, at least the LH half of it. Having Satin handle the RH duties at 1B, plus an occasional start at 3B to give Wright a breather, makes perfect sense.

    It’s really weird that Tejada stands to be the starting SS; he’d fit better as the Mets’ backup at SS and 2B. I’m still hoping that Steven Drew will somehow fall into Sandy’s lap as a last resort when nobody else is willing to throw megabucks at him.

    Let the shakedown cruise begin!

  • Believe me that was not my intention. Lol Was just stating fact.

  • Denelor

    You’re comments on the backup infielder are spot on, and exactly what’s wrong with Collins as a manager.

    Quintinilla can’t hit the ground with his feet and he’s not the best fielder of the bunch, but he’ll probably make the team because he’s “the Veteran”.

    Yawn.

  • It could be better but I wouldn’t call it horrible.

  • Denelor

    May not have been your intention, but the reaction will be fun to watch all the same.

  • RyanF55

    Interesting you don’t even bother mentioning Flores at 1B, and unfortunately, I think you’re right. He needs to get ABs this year IMO. Lets see what we have.

  • Biggle Boy

    The guy who becomes the backup infielder is not just up to Collins.

  • AJF

    I cannot wait for baseball and the warm weather but I am not expecting much from this team this year like the past 4 yrs

  • mets2014

    folks the loser of the 1B battle between davis and duda will NOT go to AAA…davis is out of options and they will NOT pay duda north of $1.6M to play in the minors…that’s not how alderson operates…what does this mean? say davis wins the competition, duda becomes backup 1B/5th OF which tickets A Brown to AAA…this will leave flores and satin to battle it out for the last bench spot because you also need a backup catcher and middle infielder

  • ParisWilponCOO

    I hope not Murphy- moving him messed him up last year. Let’s hope EY shows some skills at 2B so TC puts him there more. Murphy needs more rest- you could tell he was dragging. He’s a .300 hitter if managed properly.

  • Destry

    And if Duda wins the 1B job?

  • Destry

    Z. Lutz, W. Flores, D. Murphy, J. Satin

  • The Alpha Male on the plains of the Serengeti? Wow! Watching Animal Planet while doing this post I gather. 🙂

  • jason bay

    It is so unusual to see the Mets with any competition at all let alone at all of those positions. I can’t remember the last time there was competition at a position other than perhaps 2B in 2011.

    Usually there is one guy (most often an import) and even the scrub backing him up has to be imported as well like a GMJ, Alex Cora, Frank Cattolonotto, Chris Carter, Marlon Anderson, Julio Franco, David Newhan, Mike DeFelice, Jeff Conine, Ricky Ledee, Ben Johnson, Michael Tucker, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Anderson Hernandez Trot Nixon, Kelly Stinnett, Chris Woodward, Argenis Reyes, Ramon Martinez, Brady Clark, Gus Molina, Omir Santos, Gary Sheffield, Jeremy Reed, Cory Sullivan, Angel Berroa, Fernando Tatis, Mike Hessman, Jesus Feliciano, Luis Hernandez, Mike Nickeas, ect ect.

    Having some competition for starting jobs is a new and strange thing on the Mets but it should help prevent the sleepwalking that has plagued this team in 2007 2008 and toughen them all up mentality for the upcoming season.

    Wish everyone good luck and let the best man win.

  • Taskmaster4450

    “We’re stuck with the Wilpons for another year and their BS ways.”

    You must know something the rest of us do not because I anticipate the Wilpons, Jeff at least, to be around a long time.

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    Wow. Nice work on that list. It’s haunting, really.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Good analysis Joe. I think you are on with most of your points.

    The one exception I see is that I do not see Tovar as much of a candidate to make the big league roster. He played in AA last season performing as a all big glove little bat player. Q will get the back up position because Tovar really does need everyday ABs to see if he can learn how to hit with any consistency at all. I see Tovar in Wallyworld trying to learn how to hit AAA pitching. Hell, if this kid can even hit .240 in the majors, with his glove, he will be the everyday SS. Sadly, he didnt manage that in AA.

    The other point that you might have missed on is the legitimate masher line. When you look at both Ike and Duda, even with their faults, it is hard to dispute that either can hit the ball a long way. Ike has a 30+ HR season to his credit and Duda hit 15 last season is a little more than half a season. I understand you wont mistake them for Fielder (Prince nor his dad). However, in the age when HRs are decreasing post steroids, I see these two guys as legitimate HR threats. Sadly, they are more a Kingman type threat with an all or none approach.

  • mets2014

    my guess would be davis becomes backup 1B, Andrew Brown is the 5th OF and both Flores and Satin head to the minors…I just can’t see how one of davis or duda is not traded

  • Taskmaster4450

    I agree JB. Competition is an extremely good thing. For too long the Mets resembled an entitlement agency where guys were handed positions. Let them earn it. This is professional sports. May the best man win.

  • Taskmaster4450

    The best thing to happen to the Mets is both Duda and Ike have a terrific Spring. If they do that, perhaps their value will increase some and a team will find itself in dire need of a 1B.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Why would you have a lefty 1B backing up a lefty 1B when neither lefty can hit lefties very well?

  • WilponsStinkLessNow

    Of course, if the Mets had added significant players over any of the past three seasons then we wouldn’t have had such big expectations for this off-season…

  • RyanF55

    Spot on. Best case is one is good enough to be traded. I guess more so Duda – he’s making 1.6 million and if you extrapolate his 2013 half season to a full season, he’s a guy with 30 HR potential for 1.6 million dollars. There would have to be an AL team that could use his services.

  • RyanF55

    You don’t because it makes no sense. You would have a player being backed up by the same player essentially. I personally don’t want a platoon at 1st but it at least has to be lefty-righty.

  • mets2014

    lol because AAA will not be an option for either based on their salaries

  • mets2014

    it won’t be a platoon…one will start everyday

  • vigouge

    Davis could still go to the minors, he’d just have to be passed through waivers.

  • jason bay

    Thanks Pedro.

    It does resemble a guest list at a Halloween ball doesn’t it?

  • Charley’s Twin

    We really should just give up

  • RyanF55

    It makes zero sense to have one start and the other ride the bench. You’d rather have someone come off the bench that can pinch hit. Davis or Duda is a horrible bat off the bench.

  • jason bay

    Yeah Task,

    Competition through the minors and into the Majors is a vital component of developing a mentally tough team like the Cardinals have.

    You just don’t get that when you throw a whole bunch of aging carpetbaggers together backed up by scrubs and non prospects.

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    Or the preface to my suicide note.

  • ParisWilponCOO

    Better yet, Jeffy’s suicide note?

  • The-rock-man

    If neither Duda or Ike get it going, well Flores should be given 1st crack at the righties and later the lefties as well. I guess we’re gonna left the chips fall as they may. Good luck guys.

  • Harvey33

    The mets only updated two positions. That is really pathetic for a big market team.

  • BigAl831

    Trot Nixon, Colin Cowgill, Mike Jacobs, Fred Lewis, Nick Evans, Ramon Martinez, Wilson Valdez, Gerald Wiliams, Brian Daubach, Jose Offerman. Just a few to add to that wonderful list.

  • Where’s Flores?

  • Biggle Boy

    I think you’re right, Jayson. Seems like there will be some fairly legit competition at a few positions this year. If Murphy is not traded, then he along with Ike and Duda could be in play at 1B, with Satin as the righty platoon guy.

    Ditto for 2B with Murph and EY, and maybe Flores. And in the OF, CY, EY and Lagares could be in play for 2 of the spots. Of course, SS is basically Tejada, unless they can get Drew. If they can, then add Tejada as a 2B/SS backup.

    And unless they sign a lefty to PH, then I imagine Duda/Ike would be the lefty PH when Satin starts, or EY is the lefty PH if Murph is at 2B and CY is in LF. But that’s not ideal. Another lefty to PH would help.

  • mad met

    Wait what two did they upgrade ? Young over juan l ..hell no. Granderson over byrd hr maybe avg hell no ..

  • Endy10

    not true, davis has one option left w/o waivers. although i wouldn’t understand the mets making him a 3.5 mil AAA player

  • Tommy Med

    that is a disgusting and pitiful SS Trio

  • Bail4Nails

    If they don’t fix shortstop and first base by the start of the season, there won’t be much competition getting seats though.

  • No mention of Flores in either the second or first base battles. Hell I kind of hope he snatches SS… If his movement has improved enough from all the training he participated in this off season.