The New York Mets look to be obvious sellers as July’s trade deadline nears with first baseman Lucas Duda likely on the trading block.
Let’s be frank–the New York Mets 2017 season just hasn’t gone the way they envisioned it. There’s no need to sugarcoat the failures of their current campaign, but rather look towards 2018 as a potential bounce back season. To do that, they’ll need to maximize trading their assets over the next few weeks. One often mentioned name that could be moved is first baseman, Lucas Duda.
The 31-year-old, who will be owed less than $4 million over the reminder of the season, is an affordable rental option for teams looking to contend on a budget. While Duda won’t likely return significant prospects, the Mets may want to get something for his services before handing the first base reigns to Dominic Smith. Let’s take a look at four destinations for the slugging first baseman.
Joe Mauer was recently activated from the disabled list but is likely to see most of his playing time at the designated hitter slot moving forward. Kennys Vargas was optioned to the minor leagues recently leaving the possibility of an upgrade at first.
The Twins find themselves in the thick of the AL Central race and Wild Card. Already exceeding preseason expectations, they have every reason to believe they can contend for a playoff spot in 2017. Trading for Duda would align with their small market budget and would give the team flexibility at first base allowing Mauer to DH consistently.
New York Yankees
Yes, the Yankees just made a blockbuster trade that involved acquiring Todd Frazier. However, the plan seems to be for Frazier to play third while Chase Headley and Garrett Cooper share first base duties. Should the Yankees decide to spell Frazier against right handed pitching and start Headley at third on the rare occasion, Duda makes sense as a first base option.
Joe Girardi says Chase Headley will take a crash course at first base. Todd Frazier will play third base.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 19, 2017
The Frazier trade makes this less likely but the depth at first base is something the Yankees have lacked (mostly due to injury) and still could address.
Despite a .500 record, the Mariners began Thursday morning just 1.5 games back of a playoff spot. General manager Jerry Dipoto is trigger finger happy when it comes to making moves, often executing transactions more frequently than most other GM’s. Having missed the playoffs every year since 2001, the Mariners could very well be trying to give their fans October baseball for the first time in over a decade.
Danny Valencia has performed well at first base but adding Duda would make for a nifty left handed compliment. Outside of Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, the Mariners have little power from the left side.
The Rangers, like the Mets, have also fallen on their collective faces after a successful 2016. However, they somehow only remain 3.5 games out of a playoff spot. Should they decide to establish themselves as contenders, adding Lucas Duda could bring some stability to their first base situation.
The Rangers have received significant power production from Mike Napoli and Joey Gallo, though the former is hitting .203 and the latter just .190 this season. Duda won’t win any batting titles, but his lifetime .246 average and .344 OBP could bring some stability to Texas.