Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
So desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately the Mets have apparently no inclination to spend money to solve their offensive woes. They don't want to part with any of the future Fab Five starting rotation members. How then do you bring in some much needed offensive help?
Trade Lucas Duda.
Yes, the big man looked terrific in 2014 but this year seems to have regressed. It's not usually smart business to sell low, but he's going to cost you even more money next year. They jettisoned Ike Davis due to a lesser financial commitment. There could be a buyer out there who feels a change of scenery is all that's needed to make him into a productive hitter again. Pair him with other pitching options not necessarily part of the future – Rafael Montero, Matt Bowman (recently turning it on in AAA), Gabriel Ynoa, etc. and you might be able to land that impact bat the team so desperately needs.
You also still have the underwhelming but relatively expensive duo of Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese who by themselves don't generate much interest but if someone wants Duda then you might demand they take one of these players, too.
Finally, don't forget about Daniel Murphy. Yes, he is one of the few productive bats on the team, but he's a goner for NOTHING next year. You might as well try to bundle him as part of a package to get something in return.
I've mentioned in the past how when the Mets wanted Mike Hampton they were forced to take Derek Bell and his salary to close the deal. Maybe that's how Sandy Alderson has to play the prospect of trading what could be considered a semi-attractive asset in Duda. No one wants Michael Cuddyer, you can't trade David Wright with his medical prognosis and despite Curtis Granderson's recent surge, he's still probably not desirable to someone else who would then be on the hook for two more years.
Finding outfielders is usually easier than finding people to cover other positions. Perhaps there are teams out there with even worse production from 1B or DH who might consider taking a flyer on the big man? Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Colorado, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa Bay would all see an improvement with Duda's diminished output.
What would you do then to cover 1st base? You have a few choices. You are obligated to pay Michael Cuddyer for another year. Maybe his knees would feel less stress if he didn't have to run around in the outfield. You can then use Cuddyer in 2016 as a transition to see how Dom Smith, Jayce Boyd, Kevin Plawecki or others in the system adapt and grow.
Don't like that? How about telling Travis d'Arnaud to switch to 1st base in the interest of his health. His bat looks more consistently dangerous than does Lucas Duda's, so it might be worth looking at a way of keeping him in the lineup more often.
Then there's Wilmer Flores. He's obviously not been a great answer at shortstop and second base is only a place holding position while Dilson Herrera gets more experience. If you moved him to 1B, then you open up 2B to Herrera and hopefully get a return of David Wright at 3B at some point in the future.
Hey, it's a risky gamble but thus far trying to trade spare parts hasn't garnered any attention. Obviously there were concerns about Duda's ability to repeat, hence the failure to lock him up to a multi-year deal during the off-season. Right now the parsimonious owners are probably happy about that, so why not turn try to turn soon-to-be more costly lemons into lemonade? Depending on the return – an impact bat or a highly regarded prospect – would result in the perception of going for it this year or throwing in the towel on the 2015 season.
As I said, desperate times call for desperate measures.