First it was a broken wrist suffered during the offseason, then it was six strikeouts in his first seven at bats, then it was sitting out a few days to continue work on a new swing, and now it’s another missed game and a mysterious trip to the doctor. The problems just keep piling up for New York Mets outfielder Lucas Duda, and it’s frustrating and disappointing to see these issues persist.
After nothing but disappointment throughout the 2012 season, Duda is starting the 2013 season the exact same way. Spring training games have been going on for a week, and Duda has rarely been seen on the field; and when he has played, he has struggled. It’s hard to believe that coming into the start of spring training, Mets manager Terry Collins said that Duda was the only outfielder in camp guaranteed of a spot on the team. But considering how things have gone, both for Duda and everybody else competing for an outfield spot, should that even be the case?
What exactly has Duda done to deserve a guaranteed spot on the Mets opening day roster? He hasn’t done anything last year to solidify a spot and he certainly hasn’t done anything this spring to do so either. With the way newcomer Collin Cowgill has performed, the track record that veteran Marlon Byrd brings to the table, as well as the presence of the steady and reliable Mike Baxter, isn’t it possible that the Mets can put together a viable outfield without Duda? If the Mets are looking for young lefties, they also have Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker, who are capable of carving out full-time or part-time roles on the team.
With all the disappointment Duda has experienced and all the problems he continues to have this spring, shouldn’t he have to earn his spot on the team? Is it time to forget Duda’s potential, and let a player’s performance do the talking?