Who Are The New York Mets’ Options At First Base in 2014?
Who Are The New York Mets' Options At First Base in 2014?
With reports surfacing in recent days that the New York Mets intend to bring first baseman Ike Davis to spring training, it’s starting to become apparent that the Mets will have a competition during the spring for the right to become the team’s opening day first baseman. Right now Lucas Duda is projected to be in the opening day lineup at first base, but Davis staying with the team changes everything. The Mets have tried and failed to trade Davis this offseason, and their list of options for what to do with him has dwindled. Now it appears as if he’ll remain with the team and be part of an open competition at first base during spring training.
Of course, the competition is not going to be limited to just Davis and Duda. There’s likely not going to be room on the roster for both of them -- especially if Davis wins the job as Duda can be optioned to the minors -- but there will be more than a handful of players vying for playing time at first base. In fact, there’s a strong possibility that the Mets will end up with two players in a platoon at first base with one who hits left-handed and one who his right-handed.
Davis and Duda will likely be the focal points of the competition, but there are a few others that have a realistic chance of not only making the opening day roster but also playing regularly at first base for the Mets. It’ll be a complicated competition in spring training, and here are the candidates.
7. Daniel Murphy
Murphy is more of a fail safe at first base than anything else. He has experience playing the position in the big leagues, so if everything else fails the Mets know they can move him over there, especially since they could move Eric Young to second base. It’s unlikely to happen, but it’s not impossible, especially if the Mets try some outside the box thinking.
6. Andrew Brown
Brown played three games at first base in the minors last year and 1.2 innings there with the Mets, so he doesn’t have a lot of experience playing there. But the Mets are open-minded when it comes to putting players with power in their lineup, so they could try to sneak Brown into a few games at first base. Brown looks like a good bet to make the team as a reserve outfielder, but with the Mets signing Curtis Granderson and Chris Young this offseason it could be tough to get Brown at bats there making first base more of an option for him. If Brown shows in spring training that he can handle the position defensively, he could become a contender to be the right-handed half of the platoon at first base.
5. Zach Lutz
If Lutz were more versatile defensively, he’d be a great bench piece for the Mets, because he can really hit. Lutz has played mostly third base in his career, but obviously that position belongs to David Wright. So he’s seen some time at first base in the minors the past couple of seasons in hopes that it’ll help him earn and keep a spot on the big league roster. He’s not a great defensive player, but if he can prove himself to be competent at first base, he may get a chance to platoon there; otherwise, he’ll be either optioned to the minors or waived at the end of spring training.
4. Wilmer Flores
The Mets are still looking for a position for Flores, and first base may actually be the best fit. He’s a liability at second base because of his lack of quickness, and unless David Wright gets hurt he’s not going to have a chance to play third base. So if he’s going to make the Mets’ opening day roster it’ll be as a first baseman that splits time with either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. As of right now, Flores likely begins 2014 back in triple-A, but if he swings the bat well in spring training the Mets may consider keeping him in the majors and have him platoon first base with Davis or Duda.
3. Josh Satin
Satin is the favorite to be the right-handed half of the Mets’ platoon at first base this year after a strong finish to the 2013 season. He’s not overly impressive at first base, but he can handle the position well enough. At the plate Satin won’t provide a lot of power, but he gives professional at bats and the Mets appear comfortable with him. That's especially true since he’d only start against lefties, and the rest of the time he’d be a nice player to have coming off the bench. He’ll have some competition for that spot in spring training, but heading into the season he’s the favorite to be one of the Mets’ first basemen.
2. Lucas Duda
The Mets have seemed content all offseason with the idea of Duda being their regular first baseman -- or at least getting a majority of time in a platoon situation. For a brief period last season before going down with an injury he became the everyday first baseman, and during that time Duda looked far more comfortable at the plate and began to be a more productive hitter. Obviously the Mets hope he can regain that level of comfort in 2014 and tap into all the power potential that he has. But with Ike Davis staying with the team, Duda will now have to beat him out during spring training for the first base job or else he’ll likely be sent back to triple-A to start the season.
1. Ike Davis
Now that the Mets appear to be keeping Davis, they’re going to give him every opportunity to win the starting first base job during spring training in a competition between him and Lucas Duda. Davis is the best defensive first baseman on the roster, and he has the highest upside as a hitter, having hit 32 home runs in 2012 despite a terrible first half of the season. Obviously, Davis has a lot to prove after a nightmare season in 2013, but if he can have a good spring, the Mets may still be able to trade him or at least feel better about how he’ll perform in 2014.