It took about three weeks longer than it should have, but the New York Mets have finally solved their conundrum at first base by trading Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson tried to trade Davis all winter, and 24 at bats and a .208 batting average later, he’s finally pulled it off, giving the Mets much needed clarity at first base.
There’s no doubt that the player who will benefit the most from Davis being traded is Lucas Duda. Mets manager Terry Collins labeled Duda the regular first baseman early in the season. However, Davis has continued to get starts every few games, interrupting Duda’s rhythm.
With Davis out of the picture, the Mets should now be running a straight platoon at first base with Duda starting against every right-handed pitcher and Josh Satin starting against every left-handed pitcher. It’s the kind of simplicity that the Mets weren’t able to have as long as Davis was on the roster, and now that he’s no longer with the team, the Mets should have more stability in their lineup.
Not only does Duda now know exactly when he’s going to be in the lineup, he can relax knowing that he no longer has to worry about losing his job if he has a couple of bad games or if Davis has a good game. Duda has struggled with his confidence throughout his big league career; playing first base instead of the outfield has helped, and now the Mets trading Davis should help even more.
The Mets could have easily pushed Duda in a trade with other teams, but instead they tried for months to unload Davis, essentially picking Duda over Davis. Now that Davis is gone, Duda not only has the opportunity to play regularly at first base for the Mets, but he should also have the confidence to excel with the Mets, which could be the biggest positive to come out of the Mets trading Davis to the Pirates.