It’s a valid question, although sadly, the Mets situation might be funnier than Abbott and Costello’s classic routine. Word leaking out of the Mets front office is that they will stay in-house, that some combination of Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Josh Satin will answer that question. That raises a question Abbott and Costello never asked — why?
To rehash, Davis got off to a second straight horrendous start but unlike 2012, he could not recover this year and had to spend some time in the minors. He finished with nine home runs, 33 RBIs and a .205 batting average in 103 games. He also struck out 101 times.
Duda was terrible for a second straight season and was also banished to Las Vegas. He struck out 102 times in his 100 games, hitting .223 with 15 home runs and the same 33 RBIs as Davis.
Satin hit .279 in 75 games but has no power to speak of and has not yet proven that he can succeed at the major league level.
And these are the guys whom Sandy Alderson thinks can solve the team’s problem at first base.
Alderson has already said that non-tendering Davis is not an option, even though he is likely to get upwards of $4 million in his second year of arbitration. That is a lot of money to pay for a player who has shown himself to be unreliable. Maybe Alderson could trade him the way he traded Angel Pagan; hopefully he can get better players in return this time.
It might make sense to hold onto Duda for one more year because he is not yet eligible for arbitration and he has minor league options left. That means the Mets can pay him a little more than the major league minimum ($500,000) and stick him in the minors and see if he can figure things out. If he does, then bring him up. If not, let him languish in Vegas. But the Mets should absolutely not go into the season counting on Duda at all.
They can do the same thing with Satin.
The bottom line is that the Mets need to look elsewhere for a first baseman. James Loney should be a possibility. He shouldn’t cost too much and is a decent hitter. However, he doesn’t have great power; he is a 15-homer guy at best. The rest of the free agent market is not particularly attractive.
Could the Mets pry Mark Trumbo away from the Angels? Trumbo is a slugger — 34 home runs and 100 RBIs this season. But he hit only .234 and struck out 184 times. He is only 27, so there is room for improvement. The Angels need pitching and the Mets certainly have pitching to spare if they choose to go that route. Alderson has gone on record as saying he does not like to deal young pitching for hitting, but he may not have any choice.
The Mets need an overhaul to compete in 2014, not just a couple of cosmetic changes. First base is a good place to start.