David Wright Returns, Provides Flexibility in Mets' Lineup

For the first time in over two months, David Wright will be in the Mets' lineup. Given the time Wright and Ike Davis have missed, it's impressive that the team enters play tenth in baseball in runs per game. So long as Carlos Beltran is still on the team, Wright's return could easily move the Mets up in the run-scoring ranks, and if Beltran is dealt in the near future, he softens the blow to the lineup. Either way, he gives Terry Collins some added offensive flexibility in the infield.

The Mets have fared pretty well at third base in Wright's absence, mostly because of Daniel Murphy. The Irish Hammer has been a very good hitter all year, and 105 of his plate appearances have come while playing the hot corner. During that time he's put up an .856 OPS, which by current major league third base standards is damn near elite. Still, the upgrade from Murphy to Wright at third base should be significant.

Murphy will move back to the other side of the infield, where Terry Collins can use him at first or second. Keeping Lucas Duda at first base, at least against right-handed pitching, and playing Murphy at second makes the most sense for the foreseeable future. Neither Duda nor Justin Turner has enough time in the majors to know what kind of hitters they will be, but Duda has a couple of things working in his favor.

El Dud-a-rino is younger and has dominated at the upper levels of the minor leagues by hitting for power, albeit at an advanced age for the levels at which he was playing.  Although Turner has also been successful at those levels, he has never shown the type of power that Duda has. If there's anything the Mets lack in their lineup, it's power. Even if Wright replaces the power that is lost if and when Beltran departs, there's not much of a home run threat in the rest of the lineup.

That's not to say that power should be the sole factor in deciding whether Turner or Duda sees the majority of the playing time from here on out, but it's not like Turner's .326 OBP is turning heads.

I'd imagine the Mets will use these three players this way, but Terry Collins could buy into the "Murphy has no position" talk and stick him at first while Turner becomes the new everyday second baseman.

As for Wright, enjoy his return. There will come a time that he's playing his last game in a Mets uniform, too, and it would be a shame if he were as under-appreciated as Carlos Beltran was for much of his times in Queens.

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