While it may frustrate the fan base that that New Year has rolled around and there has not been a resolution to the First Base situation, not making a trade may be the wisest move of all.
The adage in the stock market is Buy Low, Sell High. If the Mets First Base situation was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda would be trading at near their 52 week lows. Sure, Sandy would be kicking around the tires on trades for both players, but the GM on the other side of the conversation would also recognize that the Mets wouldn’t be bargaining from a position of strength with either player.
Yes, Ike has a 32 Home Run season under his belt from 2012 and hit .255 with 20 HR and 41 RBI in the second half of 2012 after a poor start. If Sandy were to sell high on Ike, it would have been after the 2012 season. It wasn’t done, of course, because we all felt that Ike would build upon his second half of 2012 and have a strong 2013 season.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Ike’s second half of 2013 was much improved over his first half. He hit .286 in the second half of the season, but his power dipped and he had only 4 HR and 15 RBI over his last 40 games. He also had his second straight season of starting poorly.
Yes, the potential is there for Ike to return to 30 Home Run form. He very well may get there – but here’s the rub. A General Manager who stakes his future on a player’s “potential” and makes the wrong decision can find himself on the unemployment line. Of course Sandy would be asking for a top prospect in return for Ike. He would argue that Ike is a proven 30 Home Run Major Leaguer that is entering his prime. The argument on the other side is, “If he’s that great, why would you look to trade him?”
Then there’s Lucas Duda. Lucas has potential. The last two seasons, I have thought that he reminds me of David Ortiz. Not the David Ortiz that we know as Big Papi. The David Ortiz that played for the Minnesota Twins. The big, left handed hitting player who had the potential to mash and was entering his later twenties that was never able to put it together. David put it all together and is on his way to Cooperstown. Lucas is still a player with that dreaded “potential” label.
When it comes to trade value, Ike has it in spades over Lucas. While 2013 was a disaster for Ike, he has built up a Major League resume that would make him attractive to a potential trade partner. Lucas has shown he has power, but hasn’t shown he can stick in the majors for a full season and he has earned himself trips back to the minors the past three seasons.
But Lucas being on the roster works against Ike’s trade value. Every other GM knows that the Mets have options at First Base were they to unload Ike. Not only do they have Lucas Duda, there’s Daniel Murphy (a proven major league hitter) that can easily shift over to first base because the Mets have another option at Second Base (Eric Young, Jr.). An opposing GM knows they may be doing the Mets a “favor” by alleviating the Mets of a logjam at first by taking Ike. If you’re doing someone a favor, why would you do them a second favor by also sending a top prospect in the Mets direction? That’s not buying low and selling high.
Unless Sandy gets the right offer for Ike, the wisest move may be to hold onto him and look to make a deal in spring training. Both Ike and Lucas will have an opportunity to raise their trade value, and if they’re both competing for the roster spot – it may bring out the best in both of them. Injuries also happen, and a potential trade partner may develop that suddenly finds themselves in need of a first baseman.
One of the two may assert himself and simply take the position away from the other. Both may fall flat on their faces. Or maybe Josh Satin will outplay both of them.
In the immortal words of Douglas Adams – Don’t Panic.