Who's on First?
How could I forget to mention! Piazza is only going to catch 2 to 3 times a week according to a conversation that Howe had with Piazza. Piazza seemed to be open and OK to the idea, which is a big step for those in organization in favor of this move.
I guess this had a lot to do with the need of getting some more production out of 1st base. Phillips not being able to get near .200 has sort of necessitated this move. Him and Piazza were supposed to split 1st and catching, but it seems as though his time has run out. Zeile is not the long term solution at 1st and this Valent experiment was only for 1 game. However, if Valent ends up looking good at 1st and gets a few more chances, I'm sure things will change quickly. At this point, Howe is trying to field what he deems the best lineup. If that means Vance behind the plate and Piazza at 1st, or Piazza behind the plate and Valent at 1st, then so be it. It is amazing to me how quickly Phillips has become a non-factor.
Mr. Met's Take:
I think Piazza skills behind the plate go way beyond his deficiencies of throwing the ball to 2nd base (which he has looked slightly better at this year). When I watch a game with Piazza behind the plate, you will be lucky to see a pitcher shake off a pitch. While he is catching, the pitcher does not need to worry about what to throw or where. Piazza takes care of that does fantastic job calling the games. The teams ERA is lower, and has been historically, when he is catching. As long as he wants to be behind the plate, let him be there. Stay the course with him playing 1st when there is a day game after the night game. We need to keep him in the lineup, hence the reason for this move in the 1st place. I also believe there are larger ramifications to a move that is more full time. If the Mets fail to land Beltran or Ordonez to bolster the outfield, the Mets need to acquire a big bat. Unfortunately the only ones out there will be Delgado, Sexson, and Glaus. Glaus would block David Wright, who I believe can play right now in the majors. Glaus also has a history of knee problems. He has not been able to stay healthy in the recent years. He may be the cheapest of the 3, but also a worst fit. That brings us to Delgago and Sexson. They are 1st baseman. Any permanent move with Piazza stifles our flexibility in regards to them. I do understand that Piazza can be moved back to catcher next year, but I would hardly think that would be the Mets front offices thought process. Once the move happens and becomes more permanent, there is no turning back. We will see how things shake out, but I like Piazza behind the plate.