First Base Bigger Problem than Shortstop for Mets

There are reports Friday that the Mets are still hanging around in the chase to land free agent shortstop Stephen Drew. While this would not be a major upgrade at the position, the Mets biggest problem is not at shortstop — it is at first base, and the Mets do not seem inclined to address it.

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Who’s the bigger problem — Lucas Duda or Ruben Tejada?

Ruben Tejada had a miserable 2013, amid injuries and talk that his work ethic is somewhat suspect. But it was only two years ago that the Mets thought so highly of him, they let Jose Reyes walk away. He will never be the player Reyes is, but at just 24 years old, Tejada still has a chance to turn things around.

If the Mets could sign Drew to a reasonable contract or trade for a better shortstop without giving up any of their young pitchers, then fine. If not, having Tejada out there to start 2014 would not be the worst thing.

No, the worst thing would be seeing Lucas Duda standing at first base when the Mets run out to their positions on Opening Day. But that is apparently what will happen.

The Mets seem intent on trading Ike Davis, and that is not a terrible thing. He needs to fresh start somewhere else after disastrous beginnings in each of the past two seasons. But if it means having Duda at first, they might as well keep Davis and jettison Duda, the far inferior player.

The Mets apparently did not even consider making a change at first. Free agent alternatives such as Corey Hart and Mike Morse have signed elsewhere on reasonable one-year deals, likely without even a cursory call from Sandy Alderson. Perhaps the Mets did not see these players as any better than Davis, but they are certainly better than Duda.

After the way Duda has performed over the past two seasons, it is nearly incomprehensible that he is being given another chance. Then again, this is the same general manager who a year ago was making jokes about his outfield, only to go into 2013 with the same lame group.

The Mets have missed an opportunity here to upgrade at first base. Lucas Duda (possibly in a platoon with Josh Satin) will be a disaster, his spot in the lineup the same black hole it has been for two seasons now.

With all the attention paid to the shortstop position, it would have been nice if Alderson at least gave a little bit of it to his putrid first base situation.

4 thoughts on “First Base Bigger Problem than Shortstop for Mets

  • December 13, 2013 at 10:26 pm
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    i’ve discussed this before, but i don’t think it matters so much where the mets upgrade, as long as they upgrade at least one of the two positions. A lot of people think the mets need to generate more offense out of 1b, where ss is traditionally a more defensive position. that being said, let’s say 1b generally generates 25 hr’s and 100 rbi’s (arbitrary numbers by the way, but close to league average). and let’s say ss generally generates 5 hr and 40 rbi, so between the two positions you can expect 30 hr and 140 rbi.

    that being said, does it matter if the ss hits 25 hr and 100 rbi, and 1b plays great defense with 5 hr and 40 rbi? i don’t think so, and i think people overvalue what is expected here. i understand it’s easier to find a power hitter at 1b, but the point i’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter (to me) which position they upgrade, as long as the overall product improves enough to make the mets play some meaningful games this year.

    based on what i’ve read, my personal preference would be to pull off a trade for a ss from the d’backs. they have a surplus at the position and are looking for young pitching. i think niese, montero, or gee would be appealing to them, and then the exact package is up to sandy and what he’s willing to offer. i also heard that the cardinals inquired but didn’t like the price and turned to peralta, who signed a bloated contract. so the price may be steep, but maybe they just didn’t line up. in either case, i hope alderson makes the right move. b/c moving ike and keeping duda would most certainly be the wrong move. i think duda could have value to an AL team in need of DH help who could play 1b. ike probably has more value (higher ceiling) but he also costs more and is under team control for less time. i could live with ruben at ss with an upgrade at 1b, but i could also live with ike/satin or ike/flores at 1b if we upgraded at ss.

    i think i posted on here a few weeks ago about how the mets had so many options b/c they had so many holes, but now as the holes are starting to get filled, there’s less options obviously. but alderson has shown that when he decides to make moves, he can be a very clever business man, so hopefully he keeps the ball rolling

  • December 14, 2013 at 9:50 am
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    I love your passion and argument, but completely disagree. Lucas Duda has been a major disappointment so far, but he still has some real potential- specifically the ability to hit with power and reach base consistently, plus he’s cheap! The Mets also have some decent backup options, Satin is a legit platoon option and Wilmer Flores deserves a chance to play everyday. Flores could be a 25 HR, .280 AVG hitter, so whether it’s at second (which is why we would consider trading Murph) or first he deserves a chance. But even before that Lucas Duda deserves a chance to see if he can be a bit more aggressive at the plate and look to be more of a run producer. If he can, the Mets have a very cheap first baseman with a lot of potential (30 homers and .350 OBP). I agree with your point that we should not panic with Ruben Tejada, the difference though is that there are not any real backup options! Unlike first with Flores and Satin, the Mets have nada in place at shortstop. Keep up the good writing, Go Mets!

  • December 14, 2013 at 10:40 am
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    You’re making way too many assumptions about the mets unproven players though. Duda has never hit 20 hr’s in a season, while ike has already hit 30. duda has a good obp b/c he never swings the bat! he hit 15 hr’s last year with 35 rbi. it does no good to have power if you’re looking for a walk. the mets as a whole are way too passive at the plate, and duda is the poster boy for that. ike has the opposite problem, but he looked like he had learned some patience after going to the minors. if ike got another chance, this would be the last chance i’d give him, but he’s only been in the big leagues since 2010. duda has only been here since 2011, but he looks like he has no coordination in the field. as for the right handed portion of the 1b platoon, i honestly have no preference b/w satin and flores, i think both guys have an argument for why they should get their shot.

    Now onto shortstop. first of all, i think tejada deserves the same shot as ike, especially if he truly went through the mets’ “fat camp” as they said. hopefully having to work for his position for once instead of having it handed to him has humbled him a bit. However, if they do decide to upgrade, i discussed the trade route with the d’backs, but the free agent market next year is set to have a few ss hit the market, so i could understand alderson waiting a year.

    in either case, something must be done for at least one of the two positions (imagine they actually upgraded both). the options are there, but duda is the one man out of this group that i do not want to see on the mets. compared to what’s around him, i don’t believer there’s any way he provides more value than what the mets have or what they could obtain

  • December 16, 2013 at 5:53 am
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    Duda will be a fine ballplayer someday, as long as he burns his glove immediately and becomes a DH.

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