Will Mets really blow chance to move Lucas Duda to 1B?

The following story is respectfully offered for your consideration. It concerns two people—Ike Davis and Lucas Duda —but they are from another galaxy and another time. They live quite simply in the Twilight Zone.

Okay so they’re not from another galaxy and another time. But after hearing Sandy Alderson’s comments on WFAN Monday, it’s quite clear that we are living in the Twilight Zone. In a nutshell, Alderson considers Davis to be a member of the Mets’ core while he considers Duda just a serviceable player. Let’s look at their stats heading into the 2013 season:

ID – 1,334 PA, 118 OPS+, 23.2 K%
LD – 898 PA, 112 OPS+, 22.2 K%

Davis had more playing time under his belt and a slight offensive advantage. He was also thought to have a considerable defensive advantage, although Davis had a poor year in the field in 2012 and Duda was the one sacrificing by playing out of position. Overall, Davis was probably a better defensive player, although the gap was not as pronounced as many believed.

Now, here are their 2013 stats:

ID – 207 PA, 42 OPS+, 31.9 K%
LD – 226 PA, 119 OPS+, 25.7 K%

Offensively, Davis has taken a huge step backwards while Duda has taken a slight step forward. For their careers, Duda now holds the lead in OPS+ — 113 to 108. Additionally, Duda is on pace to hit a career-high 28 HR. It’s a little confusing how the minor leaguer Davis can be considered a piece of the core while Duda is relegated to the afterthought bin.

And to make matters worse, the Mets remain averse to moving Davis to his natural position of first base. The primary reason to move Duda to first is that he’s a terrible defensive outfielder. Currently, he has a (-11.0) UZR, the second-worst rate among MLB outfielders. Over a full season, Duda projects to be three wins worse than an average outfielder.

In limited action at his natural position of first base – Duda has been a league-average fielder. By switching Duda to first base, the Mets could pick up three wins on defense alone. That’s staggering. And if they replace him with a good fielder in left, the difference could be even greater.

But it’s not a good reason for defense alone. When Duda has gotten the chance to play first base, he’s posted a .306/.378/.486 line. While it should be pointed out that this is a small sample – 165 PA – it makes sense on an intuitive level that being comfortable in the field would translate to being comfortable at the plate.

Instead, the Mets are contemplating moving Daniel Murphy from second base to first, leaving Duda in left field and opening up a regular spot for Jordany Valdespin. This is crazy on three different levels. The first level being keeping Duda in a spot he simply cannot play at an acceptable level. Second, moving Murphy, who has worked hard to be a good defender at second base this year. And third, jumping through hoops to get more playing time for Valdespin, who should have joined Davis in being demoted instead of getting this pseudo promotion.

Whether it’s from your children or the people who run your favorite team, you want to see good decisions being made. We accept that not all decisions are going to work out the way which we would prefer but it’s tough to take when you see a decision being a train wreck from a mile away. It’s not quite the same level as jamming a fork into an outlet – but leaving Duda in the outfield to move Murphy is a decision that looked bad when it was announced, will look bad in practice and will look bad in hindsight.

And it’s not going to win any fans for Terry Collins or Sandy Alderson, both of whom the fan base grows more and more upset with each day.

18 comments for “Will Mets really blow chance to move Lucas Duda to 1B?

  1. steevy
    June 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I want TC gone but I can’t give Alderson a pass either.I just want a coherent plan,they don’t have to be good,just give me coherence.

  2. Name
    June 11, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I don’t mind losing if the players and coaches are trying their best and doing sensible moves, but recently it’s just one mistep after another and bonehead move after bonehad move, from the players all the way up to the GM. I know there are team-wide slumps, but this is an orginazational-slump.

  3. June 11, 2013 at 9:35 am

    It’s not by choice that we’re left stupefied and baffled by the front office. By refusing to move Duda to first, the organization is telling Ike not to worry. Just get your timing back and your job will be here waiting for you. WRONG MESSAGE! The team needs an enema. Starting with the front office. Sorry but it stinks here and the way this team is being handled tells us there is no future.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      “the organization is telling Ike”
      ^This.

      They are so g-dmn concerned with messages and how these underperforming buttheads feel. It’s like they are dealing with a sorority out there and we need to be mindful of their menstrual cyles.

      Here’s the message: We are here to win games, and we’re going to put the best product on the field every day. That includes starting Mr. Duda at 1B; bringing up *the best hitter in LV* when you have a moribund offense; and extending the new starting position to Carlos Torres and not Mr. Wheeler when he can’t get his shit together.

  4. za
    June 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I would be horrified if we were to play Duda in LF, Murphy at 1B, and Flores at 2B. We really don’t need three guys playing out of position. There is zero logic behind Duda playing anywhere other than 1B or DH.

  5. June 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I’m not anxious to play Duda at first, especially after all of the work he’s put in in left field and gaining confidence. By the same logic, I’m not crazy about moving Murphy to first either after all the work he put in at second.

    Can’t we stop playing musical chairs and just put a first baseman at first base, perhaps Satin?

    • June 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      I don’t mean to diminish the work that Duda has put in to become a better outfielder. But the bottom line is that he, unlike Murphy, has not improved in the field. Duda is a first baseman, masquerading as an outfielder. He’s the clear choice to be at first.

      • June 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        All things said, Satin deserves an audition as a starter after doing nothing but hit in the minors.

      • June 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        The problem is that the Mets will likely need Duda in the outfield for most of this season and he has a confidence issue. If they start pushing and pulling on him too much, he may fall to pieces again.

        I’ve long been a proponent of Murphy away from first, and he’s proving that he can be a serviceable MLB infielder. Why screw with his progress?

  6. Metsense
    June 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Sandy is now talking that he needs to make trades to improve the Mets offense. DUH!
    He furthur conjectures that he may improve the team by the trade deadline.
    Moving Duda to first will enhance his trade value, not diminish it.
    Moving Murphy to 1B will diminish, not enhance his trade value.
    The Mets will also have 6 starters in 10 days so one could go in the right trade.
    The Mets have a stock pile of pitching prospects that may entice other teams.
    They may be able to pull something off but it is unlikely. In the meantime, don’t diminish your player’s trade value.

    • June 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      I agree – it seems like it’s established that Murphy would be a good defensive first baseman. We have no idea how Duda would do in an extended trial at first base. Seems there’s a lot more to gain moving Duda.

    • Name
      June 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      I wouldn’t trade any of our SP. Something could easily happen to one of our SP, and I don’t really want to see McHugh or any other AAA starter at this point. Or Wheeler could be ineffective and force his way out of the rotation. Too many things could happen to even ponder a trade. Many people were saying the Mets were “rich” in SP at the beginning of the offseason… as we can see, you can never have too much pitching

    • Jerry Grote
      June 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      What? You mean that other teams *aren’t lining up* to get a 1B that’ll hit you 10 HR a year?

      • Jerry Grote
        June 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        sort of. But if you are bringing me back Rios, Cargo or similar talent, there’s nothing in our rotation that says “untouchable” other than MH.

        You have to wonder about Torres, and his contract status right now. I can see that suddenly becoming relevant.

        Trading is the one thing that Sandy Alderson does really, really well. I’ll give that man all the rope he needs on any trade.

  7. Chris F
    June 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I think they very much will blow this opportunity to test drive Duda at 1B. Alderson’s interview left me bewildered pretty much like everyone else.

    Murph has real trade value, which could be quite diminished by spending time at 1B, particularly if his timing at the plate is effected. I cant understand Satin being promoted just to sit on the bench. Like many here, I think JV is far overrated and making all kinds of out of position shuffling to showcase him at 2B makes no clear sense to me. I think he should have been sent down too.

    Alderson did seem to make clear that the remainder of the year was an open audition, including possible promotions directly from the B Mets. I was heartened by Rubin’s article about a 90-100M$ payroll for next year, but it is tempered by Howard Megdal’s continued assessment of the Wilpon’s financial structure.

    I hate to say it, but Im leaning to agreement with with Jerry Grote regarding pitching prospects. Outside of Harvey (possibly Niese as a lefty wth a club friendly contract), I think I would listen about trades for pitchers. Parnell may find a home. Wheeler might bring some attention too. As bad as I figured the Mets would be, I now realize that its much worse. Of course I still maintain we win with pitching, particularly in a pitching friendly place like Citi, but letting go of someone to bring in any consistent hitting is an absolute must.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      quick commentary here … a repeat of things said elsewhere …

      The second baseman playing first base makes a throwing error, opening the door to unearned runs. Completely undeterred, the manager moves the CF – he of 360 games in CF and nearly none in RF – over to the right. The new RF promptly makes an error and another unearned run scores.

      It’s like this is some sort of joke. I have to listen to Terry Collins telling us we’re STILL AFRAID OF HURTING IKE DAVIS’ FEELINGS, and that’s why we can’t move the natural 1B to 1B. Maybe, just maybe, Ike Davis should be afraid of his godddmsngsed job.

      Sweet Christ above.

  8. rds900
    June 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    As far as I am concerned the best move for Duda is out the door. He will never produce enough offensively to overcome his defensive shortcomings. He, along, with most of the Mets lineup is part of the problem. Hopefully, Davis finds his swing and returns as the offensive threat that he was in the past. If not, Let’s give Flores or Dykstra a shot.

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