Lucas Duda attended fitness camp in Michigan this winter, and reported to spring training looking fit and trim. A few weeks ago, general manager Sandy Alderson stated that Duda may see some time in the outfield this season, but those words now appear (thankfully) to be a bit empty.
While appearing with Mike Francesa yesterday on WFAN, Alderson noted that it’s unlikely that the player between Davis and Duda who isn’t the starting first baseman will remain on the roster. Instead, that player will probably be demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas or traded.
If Duda is the starting first baseman over Davis, using him in the outfield in an emergency or if something unforeseen happens is perfectly fine. However, giving him any time there under any other circumstance would be detrimental to both the team and the player.
Duda is a decent defensive first baseman who was miscast as an outfielder and struggled mightily when he was out there (whether it was in left field or right field).
Additionally, Duda admitted that he brought his struggles in the outfield with him to the plate. Those words don’t necessarily mesh with Duda’s offensive splits between the outfield and at first base, but it’s apparent that Duda wants no part of playing the outfield (nor should he).
Barring injury, the Mets will very likely enter the season with Curtis Granderson and Chris Young in the corner outfield spots and Juan Lagares in center field. Terry Collins has a bit of an obsession with the speed of Eric Young, Jr., but he profiles best as a fourth outfielder.
If Ike Davis wins the first base job, that may mean the end of Lucas Duda with the Mets.
If the club didn’t have a bit of a logjam in the outfield, carrying Duda and handing him starts out there (as ugly as it may have been) wouldn’t have been too maniacal.
However, with Granderson, Chris Young, and Juan Lagares deserving of starting in the outfield and another player (Eric Young, Jr.) set to get a decent amount of at-bats, carrying Duda would mean that Duda’s role would be that of a pinch hitter and nothing more.
Duda gets on base at a decent clip, but he isn’t someone who should be used late in games for situational purposes – something he would have to do if he was on the roster. Duda is a decent enough guy and a decent enough hitter. If he isn’t the starting first baseman, though, he’ll probably be spending 2014 and beyond someplace besides Flushing.