The 8-8 Mets are a mess right now. The team is under-performing and injuries are mounting. They have forced the team to play Jay Bruce at first base and play Curtis Granderson every day despite his .143/.197/.214 batting line.
Looking at the situation, the Mets need to upgrade somewhere. Given Jose Reyes‘ terrible play to begin the season, the obvious answer is third base.
Reyes can’t hit his way out of a paper bag right now. Through the first 16 games, he’s hitting .105/.190/.140. He’s striking out a career high 23.8% of the time. He can’t hit, and he’s carrying his struggles into the field.
On Tuesday, Reyes dropped a routine flyball that set the stage for a game tying rally in what would eventually become a brutal loss.
Simply put, Reyes has done everything he can do to force his way out of the lineup. But what other options do the Mets have?
Wilmer Flores is not an ideal option and his status right now is unknown because of an infection in his knee. Regardless, Flores is a platoon player that can not hit right-handed pitching. T.J. Rivera is another option, but is poor defensively at third base. Rivera is also stuck in Triple-A until next week, and he doesn’t draw enough walks to play everyday.
This leaves the Mets looking for out of the box options. Even if the Mets were to bring back Kelly Johnson, he still needs time to get ready for the season.
The common refrain is for Amed Rosario. It’s still too soon for him. The Mets likely don’t want to call him up before the Super Two deadline. Moreover, he only has 54 plate appearances above Double-A and still needs more time to develop.
That leaves the Mets looking at Gavin Cecchini. The Mets’ 2012 first round draft pick has thrived in Triple-A where he has played a total of 132 games hitting .317/.386/.446 with 31 doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 62 RBI, and seven stolen bases.
During Cecchini’s cup of coffee with the Mets last September, he showed he wasn’t intimidated playing in the majors. In four games, he was 2-6 with two doubles and two RBI.
The issue with Cecchini is where does he play? With his throwing issues and the rise of Rosario, he had been moved to second. The plan was also to have him work at and expose him to third base this year.
The early returns on Cecchini at second base are good. He’s played well at the position, and he has started the season playing 13 errorless games. The issue is the Mets have a second baseman in Neil Walker.
On that front, the Mets could move Walker to third base. Entering the season, Walker indicated he would be willing to play wherever the Mets needed him to play including third base.
The other option could be playing Cecchini at third. However, with so little time there, and the concerns over his past throwing errors, Cecchini is probably not a good idea for third. Then again, it’s hard to argue that what the Mets have there right now is any better.
Yes, shifting Neil Walker to third base and promoting Gavin Cecchini to play second base is drastic move. But with Jose Reyes severely under-performing and the Mets struggling to score runs when their not hitting homers, the Mets have very little to lose by implementing this change.
It’s hard to imagine Cecchini doing any worse than Reyes at this point. In fact, if Cecchini were to go 1-5 every night while playing mediocre defense, he would still be an immeasurable improvement over Reyes. For that reason alone, it’s time to give Cecchini a chance.