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With Zobrist gone, Mets have a few options at second base

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The team could fill the void from within or acquire a new player.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Ben Zobrist agreed to sign with the Cubs rather than sign with the Mets. Had he chosen the Mets, he would be the team's everyday second baseman heading into 2016. Since he didn't, there are a ways the Mets could fill the vacancy created by Daniel Murphy's free agency. Let's take a look at some of those options.


Of all the positions on the diamond, second base is the one the Mets can most easily fill from within their own organization. There's risk with all of the options, of course, but they have more potential near-term major league players there than at any other position.

Wilmer Flores: The beloved middle infielder, who spent much of his time in the field playing shortstop, hit 16 home runs in 2015 but still hit .263/.295/.408 with a 95 wRC+. Even with a good 13.2 strikeout rate in his big league career thus far, Flores has made a bunch of outs, which is evident in his career .287 OBP. If Ruben Tejada's leg is fully recovered and the Mets roll with him as the everyday shortstop—or find an upgrade outside the organization at the position—Flores could start at second. He won't be a defensive wizard at either position, but at the age of 24, it's possible that he improves at the plate. Or perhaps he's established who he is as a major league hitter.

Dilson Herrera: If the Mets fill the position from within, Dilson Herrera should get the first crack at the everyday job. The 21-year-old hit .327/.382/.511 in Triple-A Las Vegas in 2015, and in 103 major league plate appearances, he hit .211/.311/.367. The major league line isn't all that impressive, but it was good for a 92 wRC+. Before Zobrist signed, Dan Szymborski argued that the Mets would be better off with Herrera over the next few years, as his projections favored Zobrist by a bit in 2016 but Herrera in every season after that.

Matt Reynolds: Though he was briefly on the Mets' roster in the playoffs after Ruben Tejada broke his leg, Reynolds hasn't played in a major league game yet. He just turned 25 years old, and he hit .267/.319/.402 with 6 home runs in Triple-A Las Vegas, numbers that don't jump off the page in that hitter-friendly environment. Of the three internal options at or near the big league level, he should be well behind the others in consideration for playing time at the position.

Free agents

Stephen Drew: Linked to the Mets frequently in the offseason after his good year with the Red Sox 2013, Drew has been terrible ever since. In 728 plate appearances with Boston and the Yankees over the past two seasons, he hit .185/.257/.347. He'll turn 33 in March, which doesn't make him ancient by baseball standards, but the odds he'll have another above-average season at the plate seem incredibly slim.

Kelly Johnson: Familiar to the Mets since he spent the last two months of the regular season and the playoffs with the team, Johnson shouldn't be re-signed as the Mets' starting second baseman. But as a left-handed hitter, he could serve as a complement to the Mets' internal options, all of whom are right-handed hitters. Johnson's .265/.314/.435 line in 2015 was good for a 107 wrC+, his best mark in the last five seasons and his second-best in the last seven.

Howie Kendrick: Having declined a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, Kendrick would cost the Mets a draft pick to sign. Marc Carig of Newsday reports they don't plan to pursue him. The 32-year-old had a decent season, hitting .295/.336/.409 with a 109 WRC+ for the Dodgers. Those numbers are nearly identical to his career .293/.333/.423 line and 108 wRC+, which makes him sound a lot like the guy who played second base for the Mets the past few years.

Daniel Murphy: The Mets haven't ruled out bringing Murphy back, but given their presumably-limited resources, they should probably spend money elsewhere. Like Kendrick, Murphy hit pretty well with a .281/.322/.449 line and 110 WRC+ in the regular season in 2015 . Like Kendrick, Murphy's line was nearly identical to his career numbers: .288/.331/.424 and a 109 wRC+. Bringing back Murphy wouldn't cost the Mets their existing first-round pick, but it would negate the additional first-round pick they'd gain if and when he signs elsewhere.


Neil Walker: A report out of Pittsburgh the other day mentioned that the Mets had interest in the Pirates' second baseman. Walker is entering his fourth and final year of arbitration and would hit free agency following the 2016 season. MLB Trade Rumors projects he'll earn $10.7 million next season, which is a pretty reasonable salary for the type of player he is. Walker hit .269/.328/.427 with 16 home runs an a 108 wRC+ in 2015. He turned 30 a couple months ago and is a switch-hitter. He's far better from the left side, where he has hit .276/.344/.459 with a 123 wRC+ over the course of his career.