Once Pedro Beato got optioned to Triple-A Buffalo following his dreadful performance in the 10th inning of Monday night’s ballgame, it looked like both Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis were safe for another night from a demotion. With one less arm in an already short-handed bullpen, the Mets recalled Manny Acosta, and chose to send Duda down to hit the reset button with the Bisons.
There is no doubt that Lucas’ struggles were bad enough to warrant a demotion, but as I said yesterday, it’s hard to bust out of a month long slump when you don’t get the at-bats you need to bust out of a slump. Either way, Duda has two hits in his last 22 times to the plate, with only one homer and one RBI for the entire month of July.
Even though I don’t feel Duda should have been the roster casualty here, it’s time for him to go to work. Terry Collins mentioned himself that Lucas was disappointed in the demotion, but is determined to get back on track and return to the Mets to help them out as soon as possible.
What’s more interesting is the plan the Mets have for him once he joins Wally Backman and the Bisons. While the left-handed slugger will try to find his stroke again, he will be splitting his time in the field between first base and left field. First base makes sense because once he’s back with New York, he can give Ike Davis a breather here and there, since he’s the only real first baseman on the current roster. However, getting time in left field instead of right field is more intriguing as we can only infer if this is any type of foreshadowing.
Collins takes the blame for putting Duda in an uncomfortable position (right field), and his lack of defense combined with his slump was impacting the team negatively. If he’s not comfortable in right, why not get him more reps over there in Triple-A? Reading the spin of the ball will be easier for Duda in left since he’s not a natural outfielder, and that could push Jason Bay either out of the lineup or off the roster completely if he doesn’t pick up his performance soon.
His switch from right to left field has been subtle and not much talk has come from it, but one can’t help to wonder if this shift was done to prepare for a potential move with Bay. The Mets were hoping Bay would be able to provide some pop from the right side that they so desperately need, but he hasn’t done that, hitting .182/.250/.318 since his return from the DL.
If it were up to me, Duda would still be up in the Big Leagues, trying to figure things out at the highest level, just like Ike Davis. However, you already know what I think…what do you think? Should Duda have gotten some more slack since he was a big reason for New York’s first half success, or did the Mets make the right roster move?