Heading into spring training, the competition at first base between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda was supposed to be one of most intriguing parts of camp for the New York Mets. However, both have sat out for over a week with an injury, delaying the competition. With reports that Davis is wearing a boot with no timeline of when he might return, the Mets are in a bind with how they’re going to figure out their situation at first base with three weeks before the start of the regular season.
Right now, Davis’ injury is a bigger concern than Duda’s because Duda took batting practice on Monday and should be back in games soon. It’s also more important that the Mets see Davis perform during spring training to gauge whether he’ll be able to rebound from an atrocious season in 2013.
Moreover, the Mets still have an option of trading Davis, which they failed to do during the offseason but have a chance to still pull off with a couple of teams still interested. But the Mets can’t showcase Davis and attempt to trade him if he’s not playing during spring training, so his absence due to injury is worse than if he were healthy and continuing to struggle.
Mets manager Terry Collins had planned on getting Davis as many at bats as possible during the spring, but that idea has gone out the window with the injury. If he doesn’t return soon, there may not be enough time for Davis to be ready for the start of the season even if the Mets wanted him to be their first baseman this season.
After expecting a first base competition between Davis and Duda to play out during spring training, injuries to both players have prevented that from happening. With no timetable for Davis’ return, the Mets may need to start evaluating alternatives to Davis and Duda at first base. That unexpected development could create a serious problem for the team.