Who is the Everyday Third Baseman for the Mets in 2020?

yankees, mets, jeff mcneil

After the signing of Dellin Betances, the New York Mets have gone quiet with making significant moves on the free-agent market. The signing of Josh Donaldson or trade for Nolan Arenado seems very unlikely to solidify third base. Much like the outfield, third base looks like it will be a revolving door throughout the early part of the season until Carlos Beltran settles on a lineup.

The Mets have three options for third base in J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Jed Lowrie. Davis commanded playing time in left field when the Mets outfield lacked offense. He played 31 games at third, which is his natural position, but was below average there. Davis is nowhere near a defensive wizard in left field either, but his bat carried enough value to play every day.

McNeil played the same amount of games at third base and projected a lot better defensively. Ninety-eight percent of the balls hit to McNeil resulted in outs. Out of the multiple positions he plays, his best defensive position is at third base. It would be the best bet for the Mets to allow him to get a majority of the starts there.

The Case of Jed Lowrie

Lowrie separates himself in this conversation because it seems like the Mets do not want him on their roster. He barely played in 2019, and it is hard to expect anything out of him at age-36. Lowrie has always been an average third baseman and cannot to play the outfield like McNeil and Davis. Lowrie’s ability to switch hit is something the Mets roster lacks.

Quality depth is always necessary because injuries and poor performance can creep up on any player at any time. What makes the Mets roster interesting is how many different platoon swaps they can have.

If Robinson Cano is out of the lineup, all three could end up playing at the same time. If the Mets decide to play Jake Marisnick or Yoenis Cespedes along with Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto in the outfield, then only one of the three third basemen can be in the lineup.

These problems are good ones for Carlos Beltran to have. He has to cycle between two .300 hitters and a 2018 All-Star, and that is just at third base. Beltran’s outfield situation becomes even messier, especially is Yoenis Cespedes is healthy for Opening Day and has a good Spring Training.

Granted, in 2020, managers may not have the freedom to create lineups like they used to. Creating a lineup which allows players to feel fresh but allows them to get in an everyday rhythm is going to be one of the toughest challenges for the Mets in 2020.