By Gem Tablak
The Mets picked up an amazing asset when they traded cash to the Padres for 1st baseman James Loney. On Sunday vs the Cubs Loney went 2-4 with an RBI & 2 walks to bring his season average to .294 with a .349 OBP & a .479 Slugging Percentage. In 31 games, Loney has 4 HR’s & 14 RBI’s with 8 doubles & 1 triple.
At 3rd base, the Mets have had the young & talented Wilmer Flores fill in for ailing David Wright who will not be back in this year. While his overall numbers looks a little more pedestrian at an average of .255 with 5 HR’s & 18 RBI’s, in Flores’ last 7 games he has a .357/.379/.571 slash line to go along with 2 of his HR’s & 7 RBI’s.
Now while a lot of us a riding high on Flores’ 6-6 game on Sunday that included 2 HR’s & Loney’s last 15 games with a slash of .333/.397/.632 & 3 HR’s & 10 RBI’s, Can the Mets count on him sustaining those numbers? Will the Mets be looking to upgrade at both positions?
In my opinion, both guys have brought so much to the table but it makes me wonder if they can be counted on for the long run. If not, then why not platoon with each other at 1st in order to not burn any of the players out. So what about 3rd base? Well Danny Valencia once looked at as a platoon vs left handed pitching at quite a few positions has found himself a home at 3rd base with the Oakland A’s, not just as a platoon but a full time player.
This year, the right handed hitting Danny Valencia, who you can slot at all corners of the IF & OF is batting .293/.340./.443 vs right handed pitching & a whopping .350/.409/.667 vs left handers. The Mets weakness this year has been getting clutch hits with runners in scoring position, Valencia has a slash line of .309/.361/.436 with 1 double, 2 HR’s & 18 RBI’s. I think he’s the perfect trade candidate & if the Mets could possibly pick up C/1B Vogt with the loose Billy Beane as well, go for it. Like Keith Hernandez pointed on the broadcast Sunday afternoon, a team with versatile players tends to equate to to a team with a deep bench as well.