Mets: Lucas Duda’s future with team remains uncertain

Duda and the Mets discussed an extension last year but no recent talks have been reported

The only two players selected by the Mets in the 2002 and 2003 amateur drafts worth mentioning, respectively, were Scott Kazmir and Lastings Milledge.  You can take that with a grain of salt, as the 2004 draft failed to produce even one.

Such was the state of the minor league system inherited by then general manager Omar Minaya in 2005.

In an effort to balance both short and long-term goals, the contracts of his many higher priced acquisitions were timed to expire just as a crop of new talent was expected to emerge from a replenished farm system, whom in turn would then be led by veterans Jose Reyes and David Wright.

A smooth transition hinged largely on the abilities of those prospects drafted between 2005 and 2008, particularly Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, and Dillon Gee.  They comprised the group whom I loosely label the Class of 2010, as by then, they were generally experiencing regular playing time.

Other prospects drafted during the same period; Reese Havens, Josh Thole, Zach Lutz, Josh Satin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Campbell, and Collin McHugh; either languished behind, fell out of favor, or were eventually utilized in trades.

Jon Niese and Daniel Murphy were the two most recent departures.  With the exception of Eric Campbell, Lucas Duda is all that remains of Omar Minaya’s supposedly key transitional prospects.

Omar drafted Steven Matz in 2009, but really didn’t hit pay dirt until 2010 with the selections of Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom.  They were drafted too late in order to affect what were once slated to be Omar Minaya’s transitional seasons between 2010 and 2012.

In several of our recent Rising Apple Report podcasts, fellow staff writer Sam Maxwell and I easily pegged Duda as the next Daniel Murphy – which is to say Lucas Duda’s days as a Met are drawing to a close, if not by this coming year, then certainly no later than the 2017 campaign.  He is under Mets control through then, and will become eligible for free agency prior to the 2018 season, but will also be nearing 32-years of age.

Time, ownership’s finances, and therefore Mets priorities, do not appear on his side.

Future arbitration settlements, as it pertains to the starting pitching, will soon start devouring a larger share of payroll dollars, and in two year’s time, minor league prospect Dominic Smith will also be 22-years old, and should have considerable double-A experience under his belt by then.

Of course, any potential trade can easily upend Lucas Duda’s career as well.

Lucas Duda is on a short list of first basemen who’ve amassed  at least 57 home runs and driven in 165 runs over the previous two seasons.  And with health, the hope is he’ll benefit from having Yoenis Cespedes in the line-up for a full season.

He needs to, because after posting a very productive 2014 campaign, he did not have the reaffirming season in 2015 most anticipated.   So, if over the next two seasons Lucas Duda intends on inspiring the club into an extended commitment, he’ll need to overcome his wild inconsistency at the plate first.

Even if he does get himself turned around, I believe the chances of Lucas Duda signing here beyond 2017 are remote.

At the very least, he’s the next man on the hot seat.