“As of today, I would expect Lucas to get some time in the outfield, but that will be decided just before spring training,” Alderson said.
Of course, the instant reactionary world of Twitter was quick to jump on his defensive flaws as an indictment against such a decision.
Let’s take a closer look at what this news really means.
- Ike Davis is getting at-bats. Without a trading partner willing to give up much in value, it looks as if the Mets may be stuck with the slumping left-handed first baseman. Since both Duda and Ike present an inconvenient platoon option, both being left-handed batters, one will get the brunt of the at-bats. Perhaps Duda getting his outfield glove ready is a sign that Ike is still the guy.
- Daniel Murphy is the Mets best trade chip. With the trade market for Ike dried up, Sandy may be looking at Murph as his best trade piece. The Mets have already promised at-bats to Chris Young, Granderson is going to play everyday, so that leaves Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr as outfield options before Duda. If Duda is a potential outfield option, it would seem likely that EY may be getting a different glove ready this spring, too. He could be moving to second base if Alderson finds a trading partner for Murphy.
- It means nothing. As long as Ike Davis is still on the team, the Mets don’t have a natural home for Lucas Duda. They have to keep their options open, so on a January day, the fact that Sandy says Duda may play some outfield in the spring should not cause too much alarm. It’s not going to be an everyday assignment, but it could be important for Duda to at least learn the position a little bit better to give Terry Collins flexibility with his lineup.
Duda has yet to settle with the Mets on a 2014 contract. He has requested a salary of $1.9 million, while the Mets have countered at $1.35 million.