With Ike Davis and Lucas Duda – two one dimensional players – set to make the 25-man roster, manager Terry Collins recently said that he envisions a scenario where Lucas Duda sees regular playing time in the outfield.
Mar 1, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) hits a home run against the Miami Marlins in the spring training game at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
According to Collins, if both Davis and Duda are tearing the cover off the ball, the club might use Duda in the outfield with Davis at first base in order to get both of them in the lineup.
There are two problems with Duda in the outfield.
The first problem, is that he’s not an outfielder.
Regardless of the large amount of exposure Duda has gotten in both left field and right field, the fact is that he’s miscast as anything but a first baseman. Duda isn’t Todd Hundley level bad in the outfield, but he’s bad enough that having him out there means having a glaring defensive weakness.
The second problem, is that without adding Duda into the equation, the Mets already don’t have enough playing time to go around in the outfield.
Curtis Granderson and Chris Young are both set to play nearly every day, and Juan Lagares and Eric Young, Jr. will be sharing the other starting slot. It should be Lagares who starts outright, but that’s an argument for another piece.
During the offseason, it was widely expected that the Mets would trade either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. Even if one of them wasn’t traded, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said during the winter that it was unlikely both of them would make the 25-man roster if they remained Mets property.
The Mets have held on to both Davis and Duda and have reversed course regarding both of them making the roster. However, that doesn’t mean that Duda should get time in the outfield.
In an absolute emergency, using Lucas Duda in the outfield is fine. In any other circumstance, it isn’t.