Mets Trade Him or Keep Him: Lucas Duda


  He seems like he's been around forever.  He seems like he's been fighting for his job forever.  At the same time, it seems like he hasn't fully felt secure in his position with the team in forever.  Soooooooo what to do with Mr. Lucas Duda?

  One thing is for sure, Lucas 'Smash' Duda can still destroy baseballs.  In todays game, there simply aren't as many 25+ homer guys as there used to be.  In 2015 showed that his 2014 power numbers were not a fluke.  He produced a slightly higher OBP, a slightly higher SLG and a higher OPS in 2015 than in 2014 during his breakout 30 homer season.

  On the other hand, Lucas had a career high 138 strikeouts in 2015.  On the other hand, Lucas, in 42 less 2015 at bats, only had 3 less walks then he had in 2014.  As we discussed throughout the season and into this offseason here all over Macks Mets is the art of pitch selection and aggressiveness. Time and time again we seemed to not only helplessly watch Lucas helplessly swing at breaking balls in the dirt, but also watch meatball after meatball go right down the middle of the plate for strike one.  Throughout the past couple of seasons we randomly saw flashes of Lucas finally swinging at first pitch strikes, but it just never seemed to stick.  When he was running hot, we was laying off the breaking stuff, seeing the ball well and making extremely solid contact.  But in 2015 the inconsistency appeared more overwhelming then ever.  Even in the playoffs Lucas went from a poor NLDS, to an amazing NLCS, to a quite world series, all the while only hitting 1 homerun in 14 playoff games.  However it has been reported that Lucas has been tendered a contract for the upcoming season, presumably to again continue his role as starting first baseman for the New York Mets.  Is this a good thing?

  Lucas will be playing out the entire 2016 season as a 30 year old (hits that mark in Feb).  Many would consider that part of the prime of an athletes career.  But I'm wondering exactly what type of role the organization wants for Lucas at this time.  The team made sure to not have him anywhere near the 3rd or 4th spot in the lineup once other players were signed and/or the Murph effect went into full effect in the playoffs.  Michael Conforto began showing flashes of brilliance during his go around the team, and Travis d'Arnaud showed his power and ability (when healthy) to be very productive in the middle of the order, and with the team quietly and then consistently placing the captain into the 2 hole, it would certainly make no sense for TDA to not at least be hitting 5th in the Mets lineup.

  So it appears that Lucas Duda, love em or hate em, remains a perennial 25 homer threat with 25+ doubles to boot.  Even if he maintains close to his career batting average of .247 those numbers, along with a .798OPS don't seem that terrible.  But does any of this mean he even has any trade value right now in the open market?

  How valuable to teams around the league see power?  We just watched our Mets lose to a team who didn't seem to be worried about a need for any 20 homer guys.  I'll leave it to the experts to analyze the teams out there that might be a good fit in trade for Lucas. NL or AL it really shouldn't matter because despite throw-gate, Lucas really seemed to have had a solid defensive season manning the position last year. Duda saved many an errant through from my man Wilmer Flores, and often saved other errors from happening with his glove. 

  There's also the simple fact that the Mets, as an organization, don't exactly have another Ike/Duda dilemma going on for the upcoming season. I know there is talk of some wanting Daniel Murphy back to play first.  I know there is talk of David Wright possibly needing to pick up a first baseman's mitt (this argument never made sense to me because that would make Wright be a big part of plays throughout a game and hence would cause more stress to the back).

  The top first base prospect (of whom I'm the unofficial fan club president) will only be entering the 2016 season as a double A player.  And before anyone goes crazy (I saw it all on twitter last year) Dom Smith is not going to be rushed to the major leagues.  Yes, he just won the MVP of the league he played in.  But that league was A ball.  Oh, and he's 20 years old.  There's a good chance that Dom Smith won't even sniff Viva Las Vegas unless they make the playoffs and the perhaps the organization wants him to sit on a playoff bench at the second highest level for experience.

  What could the Mets even obtain in trade if they traded Lucas Duda?  Ike Davis was under 30 years old, with a solid 30 homer tally under his belt, when terrible slumps and high K totals led to Mets only obtaining a middle reliever and a teenager in the trade when they decided on Lucas in the first place.

  What do the Mets get in the guy if they keep him?  The power is still there.  The defense was good. His OBP remains respectable year after year.  But how do you teach fire, aggressiveness and killer instinct?  I'm sure we were all hoping the comfort level would now be there with Ike Davis long gone.  He knew (he had to have known) there was literally nobody in the upper minors who was close to taking his place the past 2 years. So what kind of Lucas Duda can the Mets be keeping in 2015?  I believe, as has been discussed on Macks Mets a few times now, Duda remains under 'team control' and won't officially have the option for full fledged free agency until the exact year that Dom Smith (knock on wood) is projected to be through all the remaining levels of minor league baseball and could conceivably be in line to take that next and final logical step to queens.

  I guess here is my concern.  At the moment, the Mets are said to be losing a homegrown playoff hero in Murph.  They don't seem to seriously be in the running for Cespedes. Grandy is still going into 2016 at this point as the leadoff guy. Conforto is still very young.  TDA is still very worrisome by all of us even if no longer deserved at this point and David Wright is..............

  What say you my friends?  Can a valuable return be had?  Can Sandy and Company pull off some more magic in trade involving Lucas?

  Should he stay, even 2 more full seasons, at a very reasonable salary, to hit 25+ homers, 25+ doubles and pretty decent OBP?   


Tom Brennan said...

Whether to trade Lucas or not depends, to me, on whether they can do a whole lot better than the Like Davis deal or not.

I'd re-sign Cespedes, and Murphy, and trade Duda if the return would be big enough. I think Murph is more aggressive and more clutch. Maybe he can boost his homer production to the low 20s if his swing adjustment is more than a freak surge.

Mets should not go into 2016 with a similar offense to what they entered 2015 with. No way, no how.

Hopefully pure hitter Dom Smith shows us long ball in 2016 and demonstrates that he is ready for the bigs by late 2016 or early 2017. Just 20 until mid June 2016, but he is a high first rounder. Maybe he shoots right up and defies normal age progression.

Mack Ade said...

I still feel the Mets should target the off-season on acquisitions for the middle infield, outfield, and the relief pen

That Adam Smith said...

I think it would be crazy to trade Duda now. Where are you going to get a potential 30+ HR's and solid defense at a position without spending two or three times what you're paying him? Does he need to have a better season? Yes, but he's shown that he can carry the offense for weeks at a time - and when he does, you just can't pitch to him. He was hurt for part of the season - possibly more hurt and for longer than they let on. You have his replacement two years away, so if you trade him, you're looking for a stopgap, and Lucas has a chance to be much more productive than anyone you might find to do that. Leave him be - maybe move him to 5th in the lineup, and hope he gives you .265, 30, 90.

Anonymous said...

Morning Fella's
I don't think they should trade Duda
He is what he is, a streaky hitter, with a lot of power
Sandy will not get ride of him,cause of that power potential
So I think you shouldn't waste anymore time on the subject

Metsiac said...

With Dom Smith a year or so away, there's no need to make a change at 1B now. When we assess their '16 seasons it'll be decision time.

Meanwhile, for all his flaws and inconsistency, Lucas is our leader in HRs and OBP, while fielding his position well.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Ernest Dove said...

25 homers and 25 doubles from a guy making like HALF the salary of Michael Cuddyer.

Metsiac said...

Meanwhile, the A's non-tendered Ike this week. With Smith ticketed for Bingo, how about offering him a MnL deal to see if Wally can revive him?

Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -


The Mets right now are a little soft on power.

It doesn't seem to be the right person to trade the guy who hits the most home runs.

Anonymous said...

Ike Davis??? Did you really bring up, having him return?
Move on, throw your Davis #29 in the trash
poor Ike was un coachable, never wanted to listen to hitting
instructors? keep Duda till Smith is ready, you have back up Canthiteither(cuddyer)

bgreg98180 said...

If a Duda trade can help the Mets obtain a 3rd or 4th place hitter that has a favorable avg & low strikeout rate, then yes. I would say trade him.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

FWIW, I'm being told that Zobrist will sign as a Met

bgreg98180 said...

Zobrist= good player

yes he can always help any team that he is a part of.

However, should not be considered a priority.
3rd & 4th place hitters need to be addressed.

Think about also:
Adding Zobrist makes the Mets even more of a win-now team due to his age.

That makes more reliable & consistent 3rd & 4th place hitters even more important.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

Very surprised if the Mets sign Zobrist, especially if it is a 4-year deal I'd much rather spend this money on a bigger bat and roll the dice with Rosario on second.

It will be interesting to see how the team functions now with the Alderson health issue. Who in the VP-troika will step forward and become Alexander Haig?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what we could have gotten for Davis if we had traded him sooner...

As for Duda, i dont see the rush to trade him, we can keep him for the next 2 years, then offer the QO and get a pick for him...to me, that is the value

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