Ever since the MLB offseason officially got underway, the New York Mets have been trying to trade away first baseman Ike Davis. At first there were at least a handful of potential trade partners, but now the number of viable options has dwindled down to a mere two or three teams that could be looking to trade for Davis, making it hard for the Mets to trade him and get a lot in return. With that being the case, could the Mets be better off shopping Lucas Duda instead of Davis?
Duda would be far more appealing on the trade market if the Mets were to actively shop him the way they have with Davis. Not only is he a natural first baseman, but he also has experience playing both corner outfield positions, making him a useful and versatile player, especially in the American League, where he would also fit as a designated hitter. Davis is only a first baseman, and while he’s well above average defensively, that doesn’t add much value in the eyes of American League teams.
Not only could Duda attract more potential suitors, but he would also bring back more in return. Duda has not lived up to expectations over the last few seasons, but he does boast plenty of power potential that will be attractive to teams, and he’s a safe bet to provide some production. Meanwhile, teams are made nervous by Davis’ profound struggles the past two seasons and are not willing to give up much to take a chance on him, especially considering his high salary.
If the Mets were trying to trade Duda instead of Davis, they’d probably be having more success, and they may have traded him away already, leaving them with Davis as their first baseman in 2014, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Duda is more reliable, but Davis has a much higher ceiling and is a much better defensive player and it’s not as if Duda has done anything to blow them away thus far in his career. So, Davis wouldn’t be much of a step down from Duda.
Keeping Davis would be a risky move, but if the Mets are going to be successful next year, they have to take some chances and hope they pay off. With it being such a struggle to trade Davis, perhaps the Mets need to reconsider their decision between him and Duda. The team could start trying to shop Duda instead and see if the trade offers they get are better than what teams have been offering for Davis. If more time passes and the Mets still haven’t traded Davis, then maybe they’ll come to the conclusion that they’ve been shopping the wrong first baseman.