While watching yesterdays game, I started to realize as a fan how confusing of a time this is. No doubt I am happy that we swept the Phillies. Yet of course those wins work against us netting a protected pick that seemed a lock just a week ago. However, I can't seem to root for the Mets to lose no matter the proposition.
And then there's the successful debut of Wilfredo Tovar. It's great to see a 21 year old kid come straight from AA to produce a 2/4 game with an RBI and a SB in his first game. But then there's the issue. Obviously never reading anything into what Terry said but just a few days before SS was Ruben's to lose. In my opinion he has already lost it, but does Tovar have a shot?
Look over at 3B and you see Wilmer Flores who has been struggling offensively since the ankle injury and is evidently too banged up to play 2B. What is his future on the team. One mainstream Mets blog is proclaiming him the next great Met and the other has him being traded in the off-season. If he is too injured to play 2B and he isn't an option for 1B or 3B, why is he even still playing?
At 1B, the Mets have Duda, Satin, the injured Davis, maybe Flores, and many still expect them to look outside the organization. Duda however is still getting the bulk of the time yet isn't really allowed to face LH pitching? Are we expecting a platoon of Duda and someone next year? You can't think you are increasing his trade value by saying he is a platoon player even for a team that's out of it in September.
At 2B, the controversial Daniel Murphy who may be the best example of this generation of Mets and Mets fans we have. How a guy who plays as hard as Murphy can be such a polarizing figure I will never know. Murphy is trending right now across the Mets blog wire, some for but easily many against. What has he done this year? Started in 148 games, played in 154 games, posted an OPS+ of 106 placing him 38th in the NL and an OPS of .728 placing him 5th in the NL.
Here's where his other numbers rank at 2B in the NL.
2nd in runs.
2nd in hits.
2nd in doubles.
3rd in triples.
6th in HR.
3rd in RBI.
1st in SB.
3rd in BA.
6th in OBP.
4th in SLB.
3rd in Fangraph's WAR.
Keep in mind also that while Murphy posted some career highs this year, he is below his career averages in BA, OBP, and SLG.
Defensively, while still below average using defensive metrics (which I am more afraid of now than ever) they do show a tremendous increase this year. Obviously based on my own eyes and Keith and Ron's commentary he has improved dramatically.
Murphy also seems to be a leader on the field and in the clubhouse as much as a fan can tell. The newest argument is that while he may be ranking that high in all those categories it just shows how bad 2B is. That's possible, but that also implies that replacing him would be just as tough.
So why all the angst towards Murphy? Many it's because he's just seen as a league average player. If Murphy was a 1B, he would be cast away like yesterday's trash. However, proving that he can play an adequate 2B, a position of need in the Mets system, has made him perhaps a valuable commodity.
Many want him replaced by Flores because Flores is going to be a hitting machine. There's a couple of problems with that. Flores is seen by many as just flat out unable to play 2B. Yes Murphy is learning the position and will never win a gold glove unless they throw him a bone, however, having a guy that could be even worse at the position would have to really wash those issues away with the bat.
Lets look at Flores potential bat. I am choosing not to focus on his MLB results as the sample size is too small and much of it he has spent injured. In the minors, granted this is going to be skewed due to age, Flores has posted a .290 .331 .430 .762 over the course of 2996 PA. .311 .361 .494 .855 in a small sample in AA and then .321 .357 .531 .887 in 463 PA in Vegas.
Lets just take a look at what we have here. A guy with a good BA, OBP driven by that BA with very few walks, gap power and even in a great season in Vegas an OPS under .900. Sound familiar?
Murphy never really played in AAA. He got a few PA before being called up in 2008 so the best comparison would be his 2008 AA season at 23 years old. .308 .374 .496 .870 in 407 PA. Almost identical numbers in AA, yet it seems for certain that Flores would out hit Murphy?
In my opinion just looking at swings and stats, the best we could hope from Flores next season is a Murphy type year. Could he improve and surpass Murphy in a few years? Very possibly, however, the defense will remain a question. He can most likely improve his eye, his OBP, his power but can he realistically improve range?
Man I got side tracked. Don't forget we have Juan Centeno being called up. The 23 year old defensive catcher who had a good offensive season in terms of BA in AAA. Is he a guy that could backup Travis d'Arnaud or is he something more?
I guess this is what you get when you have a team with so many holes and so few true answers and fringe players. But I have to wonder are they answering questions looking forward to 2014 or creating more questions?