Duda, 27, was hitting .306 with a .423 OBP in 62 at bats for Las Vegas. After successfully rehabbing his strained intercostal muscle a few weeks ago, Duda was recalled to the Mets in a procedural move before being optioned to AAA.
Baxter, 28, hit .208 with a .325 OBP in 101 at bats for the Mets this season. He had been demoted earlier this year along with Ike Davis and others before being recalled recently.
It’s not yet clear what exactly the Mets plan to do with Duda once he arrives back in Flushing (presumably in time for this afternoon’s game). Duda isn’t arbitration eligible until after next season, so it’s not as if the team is rushing him back to re-evaluate his worthiness.
What is clear, is that Duda is a liability in the outfield. Additionally, the Mets are set at the moment with Eric Young, Jr. in left field, Juan Lagares in center field, and Marlon Byrd in right field. Even if Duda wasn’t a liability in the field, playing him regularly over any of those three players right now wouldn’t make much sense. Granted, Marlon Byrd may not be in the Mets’ plans for next year, but their claim has been that they’re trying to squeeze as many wins as possible out of this team. Taking Byrd out of the lineup would hinder that effort.
For now, Duda should be here as a bat off the bench and as someone who gets occasional starts at first base. However, Ike Davis is arbitration eligible after the season, and the Mets need to decide whether or not to tender him a contract. Therefore, he should be getting the bulk of the playing time at first base. Complicating matters further, is the impending return of David Wright. Once Wright returns, Wilmer Flores will be a man without a position. Flores, 22, is someone the Mets should be evaluating as a potential piece of the future. If Flores is indeed a part of the future in Flushing, it’ll likely be at first base.
So, Duda is back. He shouldn’t, however, see any time in the outfield. And as is noted above, first base is occupied by Ike Davis and should be even more crowded if the team wisely decides to give Wilmer Flores some reps there later this season. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.