In honor of the Amazin’ Mets routinely playing their players hilariously out of position, I’ve decided to compile a Top 5 List. Here are the most embarrassing examples of our beloved Mets playing a position they had no business playing over the last 25 years.
After a disastrous 2017 campaign, the Mets entered the offseason with multiple holes to fill. To plug in the vacancy in center field, they signed a right fielder. To address the need at second base, the Mets signed a shortstop.
Let’s get into the list before I go on a rant.
5. Mike Piazza
In 2002, Mike Piazza held a press conference to tell the world that he wasn’t gay.
He’s not a first baseman either.
This experiment was weird. Piazza tried to pretend that the constant rumors of him going to first base didn’t exist. He finally wound up manning the position during the 2004 season. He didn’t totally embarrass himself over there but it was kind of a sad sight. He looked rather unathletic at times, and it was apparent that his glory days were behind him.
There was reason for excitement though.
We had two young stars in the pipeline. David Wright and Jose Reyes.
Mets fans had years of these two phenoms holding down the left side of the infield to look forward to. David Wright is actually still on the team. Somewhat. Jose Reyes probably will be back soon too. When that happens we’ll have three shortstops in the starting lineup.
4. Lucas Duda
Here is what scouts had to say about Lucas Duda’s defensive prowess before the 2011 season.
“Duda’s best defensive position is first base because he’s a poor, lumbering runner with below-average range and arm strength in left field.”
The Mets love a challenge though.
Do we have fans of DRS and UZR in the building?
The stats are there if you want to delve into the numbers, but take my word for it.
The Lucas Duda Outfield Experiment was not pretty.
It was hard to be completely sympathetic as balls routinely flew over his head, but Lucas is a good guy. He was just playing a position where he didn’t belong.
3. Todd Hundley
I loved Todd Hundley. One of my favorite Mets ever.
I remember where I was when he set the single season home run record by a catcher.
I also remember how things started to go south for him shortly thereafter.
There was a leak about his work ethic and drinking habits.
Then despite the organization assuring him a deal wouldn’t be made; The Mets acquired a young catcher with a fair amount of pop in his bat from the Dodgers.
The Todd Hundley Outfield Experiment lasted 34 games.
Hundley’s relationship with Manager Bobby Valentine soured, as runners took extra bases at will.
2. Travis d’Arnaud
This one is a little different than the rest of the list.
It wasn’t necessarily an experiment as it only lasted one game.
Also, surprisingly, it didn’t hurt the team.
We had to include Travis playing third base just because what transpired was so absurd.
Travis d’Arnaud, the everyday catcher, was forced into action at Third Base for a game against the Yankees, when Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes were scratched due to injury.
The official scorer earned every penny of his paycheck that night.
Depending on which side of the plate the opposing batters hit from, d’Arnaud and Asdrubal Cabrera would rotate positions. They swapped positions TWENTY TWO TIMES that night! They were able to successfully hide Travis as a lazy ninth inning popup was his only action that night. One of Terry Collins’ finest moments.
Somehow, that wouldn’t crack a top 10 list of ludicrous moments for the Mets in 2017.
1. Daniel Murphy
I chose to select a picture of Daniel Murphy holding a bat rather than a glove.
For obvious reasons.
I’m gonna try my best to not go off on a tangent.
God, I love this guy.
Daniel Murphy was drafted in 2006. His bat propelled him through the minor league system and onto the Mets’ 40 man roster. Only problem was Murphy’s natural position is third base which was occupied at the time (and still currently?) by David Wright.
In 2008, Omar Minaya thought that a 41 year old Moises Alou would make it through a 162 game season.
No, seriously. There was no contingency plan.
Even though Daniel Murphy had only played 4 professional games to that point in the outfield, he was promoted to the big show in August of 2008 to play left field. Daniel Murphy was instructed to stay completely still and let Carlos Beltran handle every play. No matter where the ball was hit. Murphy hit very well and watched from the outfield as the bullpen ushered in a second straight collapse.
In 2009, Daniel Murphy was fully exposed in the outfield and was moved to first base following a Carlos Delgado injury. Murphy held his own there but the organization wanted more power from the position. With Ike Davis making noise in the minors, rumors began to swirl about moving Murphy to second base.
The following season Daniel Murphy hurt his knee in spring training. In the meantime, Ike Davis was called up and claimed the first base spot. While attempting to learn the second base position Murphy was slid into and missed the rest of the season.
When Daniel Murphy returned he was placed back at first base. Why, you ask?
Well, Ike Davis suffered a sprained ankle and was out for like 3 seasons.
Jose Reyes suffered a hamstring injury and Murphy was sent back to second base. A utility player named Justin Turner took over shortstop duties.
Jesus Christ. Give me a second.
Ok. Where were we?
Oh, yeah. We are approaching the end of the 2012 season. Murph still hadn’t learned to get out of the way of players sliding into him and he suffered another season ending knee injury.
From that point on Daniel Murphy was the Mets’ starting second baseman. No Gold Gloves would be coming his way but he was easily our most consistent hitter.
The 2015 season came along and everyone got hurt. Daniel Murphy played everywhere except shortstop (Thank God.)
That 2015 season wound up being Daniel Murphy’s last with the Mets. Fans will never forget his heroics in the Dodgers series. Unfortunately, this article is about Mets playing out of position. He does deserve credit. He has improved immensely, but ultimately, second base is not his position.
Game 4 of the 2015 World Series might be remembered for rookie Michael Conforto hitting 2 home runs. Instead, it is remembered for a crucial Daniel Murphy error (Top 5 stomach punch play in Mets history) which opened the door to the Royals stealing the game and taking a 3-1 series lead.
Well, that trip down Memory Lane wasn’t too fun.
You know what they say though.
If you don’t learn from history you’re doomed to repeat it.