Considering A Mets Infield That Likely Returns Unchanged

lucas duda ike davis

Joe D. asked:

Even before last season ended, there was a general sense that the Mets infield would be revamped to some degree for the new season. This was further advanced when Sandy Alderson appeared on WFAN and mentioned first base and shortstop as his two top priorities this Winter. It’s now obvious the same cast will return in 2014. Is this a good thing? Were you hoping for change? What went wrong?

Given the available free agent first basemen, and looking at the splits that Lucas Duda and Josh Satin produced in 2013, I didn’t consider first base a glaring need on the same level as shortstop.

2013 Lucas Duda vs RHP:

.240/.369/.462 – .831 OPS – 14 2B – 12 HR – 225 AB 

2013 Ike Davis vs RHP:

.222/.356/.371 – .727 OPS – 13 2B – 8 HR – 250 AB

2013 Kendrys Morales vs RHP:

.275/.327/.453 – .780 OPS – 19 2B – 17 HR – 400 AB

2013 Kendrys Morales vs LHP:

.282/.353/.440 – .794 OPS – 15 2B – 6 HR – 200 AB

2013 Josh Satin vs LHP

.317/.404/.476 – .880 OPS – 10 2B – 1 HR – 82 AB

Daniel Murphy had almost 450 AB vs RHP in 2013, if Duda can get that amount of AB in 2014 you could see something like this.

Duda vs RHP (2013 prorated over 450 AB)

.240/.369/.462 – .831 OPS – 25 2B – 25  HR – 450 AB

Satin vs LHP (2013 prorated over 200 AB)

.317/.404/.476 – .880 OPS – 25 2B – 3 HR – 200 AB

Would you take this production from your 1B?

Duda/Satin platoon using 2013 numbers over a full season

.264/.380/.467 – .847 OPS – 50 2B – 28 HR – 650 AB

Compare that to the following:

2013 Prince Fielder

.279/.362/.457 – .819 OPS – 36 2B – 25 HR – 625 AB

2013 Adrian Gonzalez

.293/.342/.461 – .803 OPS – 32 2B – 22  HR – 583 AB

I think Sandy Alderson needs to give Duda a vote of confidence and let him play a position he is comfortable playing defensively by trading Ike Davis.  Having both of them on the team has done nothing but negatively effect both of them mentally.  Ike is always looking over his shoulder to see if Duda is about to take his position, and Duda is running around like a clown in the OF.

The SS position was our #1 need this offseason as Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla were the worst tandem in the game last season.  Even if we didn’t get a offensive minded shortstop, the defense that those two embarrassingly displayed in 2013 had to be replaced.

I still maintain the Mets should sign Stephen Drew and let Tejada play against LHP to give Drew and Murphy their much needed days off. The defensive improvement that Drew would provide would be immense, and Tejada would improve the defense and offense at 2B when Murphy needs a day off, so long as the opposing team has a LHP on the mound.

Drew getting the majority of his ABs vs RHP and Tejada vs LHP maximizes both players strengths offensively.  The thought of Tejada putting up a similar season to 2013, or going down with an injury to leave “Q” as our only option at SS for the upcoming season is a death sentence for a young pitching staff, and a huge black hole in the lineup as well.  At least if we sign Drew, and he goes down with an injury, we have Tejada to take over the position until he returns.

I was definitely hoping for a change at SS, and a change of scenery for Ike.  I think Sandy way overvalued Ike Davis on the trade market, and he waited too long to make his move. There were rumors earlier in the offseason that Tampa was interested in a trade involving Ike Davis for Matt Joyce, but I’m not sure who else we would’ve had to add to the deal. The Rockies, Brewers, Orioles & Pirates all had at least some level of interest as well. The Prince Fielder trade really blew up the 1B market in a hurry on Sandy, as Cabrera moved from 3B to 1B which essentially added another 1B into the overall landscape, and Texas injected Mitch Moreland into the trade market.

In the end, Sandy should have made his move much earlier.  If he would’ve lowered his price to a RP or pulled the trigger on a deal for an OF, then I think the $3 million saved on Ike minus the need for a RP, would’ve have allowed us to sign the SS that we so desperately need.  In any case, we would’ve had a clearer picture of what our needs truly were, and what we needed to do to fill them.  As it stands now we have a team full of 1B, and no SS.