May 31, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Lucas Duda (21) makes a catch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Decision Averted: For Now

Yesterday, the Mets placed Lucas Duda on the 15-day DL with an injury to his side. The timing of the injury has a few implications for the team. Duda had begun to swing the bat well since being moved to first base on June 17th, and the team has been playing much better baseball since that date. Much of the recent resurgence can be attributed to improved starting pitching. However, the current configuration of the position players has contributed as well.

Duda’s move to first base has enabled the Mets to field a much more athletic outfield, further aided by the acquisition of Eric Young, Jr. In Thursday night’s game in Atlanta, Young made a diving catch in left with 2 on and 2 out and the Mets clinging to a one-run lead. A slower outfielder does not make that play, and the Braves at minimum tie the game. On Friday night, Juan Lagares made an outstanding, running catch on a ball hit by Carlos Ruiz, saving the Mets 2 runs. Yes, the pitching has been good, but it has clearly been helped by the better defensive team on the field.

Ike Davis has begun to swing well in Las Vegas. Had Duda not gone on the DL, and if Davis keeps hitting, the Mets would have been facing a decision around the all-star break. Davis would have to come back up, and chess pieces would have to move. Some suggest putting Duda back in left field. In my view, that would be an unmitigated disaster. The team has begun to show life, both offensively and defensively. I’ve just discussed two games in one week where the improved defense has helped win games. Going back to a formula that had produced listless, sloppy baseball would make absolutely no sense. The Duda experiment in the outfield has lasted two years and two positions. It doesn’t work. We all can point to games where Lucas has cost the Mets multiple runs in the outfield. It’s time to move past that experiment, and accept the lesson learned.

That doesn’t answer the question about what to do when Davis returns and Duda is off the DL. If Duda can have a good week when he’s off the DL, it would be the right time to trade him. He will have demonstrated that when comfortable (first base or possibly DH), he can put up decent offensive numbers. His trade value has never been higher than it may be right now (once he shows he’s healthy). Sandy Alderson has mentioned that Duda isn’t part of the core going forward. If that’s the case, now is the time to think about moving him. One thing for sure-now isn’t the time to put him back in the outfield, taking playing time for young, natural outfielders who are helping the Mets win games.

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Tags: Ike Davis Lucas Duda

  • Gary McDonald

    If Davis is hitting trade him Duda has the bigger upside better hitter, better eye at the plate, doesn’t ipad off umpires . Get rid of Davis and play Duds at first.

  • Ken Meoni

    I agree with not having Duda play in the outfield. I’m not convinced with Davis. Let’s face it, he is still unproven. Just because he is finally hitting in AAA doesn’t mean he will hit up here when pitchers start attacking his weak spots. Also, Vegas is known to inflate HR numbers and hitting overall. I wouldn’t want to move Duda, only for Davis to come back and fall into old habits/weaknesses. To tell you the truth, I am out of patience with Ike. I would rather move Ike out now that he is showing signs of life. Another thing that has to be addressed here is the team hitting overall. Why is Davis fixed in AAA (besides what I have said above), but not by the current hitting coach up here? I still feel they need to get a new hitting coach. How about Keith Hernandez? If he is willing to do it.

  • Joe_JP

    I agree with Ken Meoni overall though I don’t think Keith wants to leave his current digs. I’m annoyed Ike was sent down so late. What will happen? Will he be weak for two months in ’14 too? Sending Duda to the OF again is dim since if anything there is not enough spots now. At the very least, you can’t send him there if you don’t move Byrd. Tad amusing there is too many OF now.

  • A Pocono View_

    Well the Mets think tank has more than once proven to impose poor strategies.and don’t stick w/ what appears to to i’d bet we’ll see lucas back in Lf, if Ike comes back..