Lucas Duda may end up being the most likely position player to be traded by the Mets, assuming Sandy Alderson decides to trade away an asset or two in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
In 48 games this season, Duda has 12 home runs and 21 RBI, while batting .244, but with a ..353 OBP and 0.8 WAR, according to FanGraphs.com. Also, by the time the deadline rolls around, he will only be due roughly $3-4 million through the rest of this season, after which he's eligible to be a free agent.
Why would the Mets trade Duda?
Duda is 31 years old and a pending free agent. Meanwhile, 22-year-old 1B Dominic Smith, who the Mets drafted with their top pick in 2013, is getting close to being ready for a promotion.
Mar 5, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Dominic Smith (74) hits a single. Credit: Matay-USA TODAY
Smith, who represented the Mets during MLB's Futures Game last summer, is currently hitting .318 with a .370 OBP, 26 extra base hits and 42 RBI in 71 games during his first stint in Triple-A, while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base.
According to Mayo's MLB.com pre-season rankings, now that Cody Bellinger and Josh Bell are thriving in the big leagues, Smith is the league's best first base prospect.
"He is an extraordinarily disciplined, calm hitter," ESPN.com's Keith Law recently said of Smith, who is talented enough to win a Gold Glove as a rookie.
Is anyone interested in acquiring Duda?
As of right now, I don't know of a single National League team that is looking to acquire a first baseman, who is on his way to being a free agent. That said, Duda would be a nice fit in the American League, specifically filling in at first base for the Yankees or replacing Hanley Ramirez in Boston as a DH.
I recall the Red Sox having interest in trading for Duda around 2013, back in the days of Alderson choosing between him and Ike Davis. But, Boston's interest was minimal, as was the case for most teams.
Apr 2, 2014;Duda and Davis field ground balls at first base at Citi Field. Credit: Penner-USA TODAY
Again, it's early, so I am not sure how motivated any team - let alone the Red Sox might be - in making a deal 30 days from now. That said, as it pertains to Boston, being able to wrangle in the Yankees to create a bidding war would never be a bad thing, and could potentially increase Alderson's asking price.
In the end, even under a best-case scenario, I see Duda netting one mid-level prospect with upside or something slightly less than Alderson's deal last summer that sent 2B prospect Dilson Herrera to the Reds for Jay Bruce. Also, any deal for a one-dimensional position player, like Duda and Bruce, will always go down to the wire, so don't expect any movement (assuming it will happen at all) until at least the last week of July.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!