One could argue that Sandy Alderson’s offseason moves have all been admirable. Certainly the signings of Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, and Bartolo Colon all improve the team. All those moves were necessary, as Alderson needed to find a way to replace the value of Matt Harvey and Marlon Byrd. Whether or not he replaced their value, we don’t know yet, but at least he made an attempt to do so. Despite Alderson’s success in making smart free-agent signings, there is one area he has failed to address, which is first base.
If you look at almost any Mets-related blog –including this site– there is probably an article about how Lucas Duda and Ike Davis cannot co-exist at first base. The problem is glaring. The Mets have a logjam at first base. Alderson has made attempts at fixing the problem. He has tried to make deals with the Brewers, who needed a first baseman, but the reports were that Alderson was asking for too much in return for Davis.
The problem seems to be that the Mets still think that Davis has a lot of potential, and therefore value him greatly, while other teams just see Davis as a guy who can only hit a couple of dingers. There has been pressure to move Davis, however Alderson simply has not found the right price for him — which in a general manager can be a good thing because at least he’s not giving into the pressures of the fanbase.
At the same time, if he knows he can’t command what he wants for Davis, then he should have tried a little harder to work out a deal. Alderson presumably made some attempt to move Duda, but his intentions likely were to keep Duda as the first baseman for 2014, and that’s why we heard more about Davis being moved than Duda.
There is still sometime left in the offseason, and a trade could very well go down. However, we are also 26 days away from spring training, and the likelihood of a trade happening seems pretty low. Essentially, the Mets have the same issue that has been plaguing them for the past three years, and I don’t think it’s fair to either of the players. It’s not fair to Davis because the Mets seem to be stringing him along in hopes that he will break out like Chris Davis did, or at least rediscover his ability to make contact. It’s not fair to Duda because he has the potential to give the Mets 20-25 home runs a year, but that is only valuable if he is playing first base.
The scariest part about this dilemma is that, according to Terry Collins, Duda is being considered to be used in an outfield platoon. It’s almost as if the Mets haven’t learned their lesson of the past three years. Duda cannot play the outfield. Duda is the seventh-worst outfielder in the majors according to FanGraphs Defense, with a mark of -16.5. Only Raul Ibanez, Carlos Beltran, Chris Carter, Michael Cuddyer, Daniel Nava, and Oswaldo Arcia are worse defensive outfielders than Duda. Duda is not an outfielder. He’s a first baseman, but it seems like yet again the front office is going to try to hide him in the outfield.
Alderson has done a lot of things right this offseason. From a free-agent perspective this is far and away his best offseason. However, he has failed to address the issue at first base, making his offseason mediocre.