Although the headline couldn’t be any more clickbaitey, a trade of this kind actually makes a good amount of sense for both teams.
Let’s start out with the Mets, since this is a Mets site after all: The team isn’t making the playoffs this season. They’ve made that apparent with their last two series against the Nationals and Dodgers. They’ve fallen to 11 games out of the Division, and 12.5 out of the Wild Card.
But while this season might be lost, there is still plenty of hope for the future– namely at first base. Dominic Smith is the Mets’ best prospect not named Amed Rosario, and he is presumptively slated to be the Mets’ first baseman of the future. And that future could come as soon as next season, as Smith is batting .323/.374/.469 in Triple-A this season.
Lucas Duda, the first baseman of today, is also a free agent at the end of the season– making him perhaps even more expendable for the Mets. With his future role with the team in question regardless of his contract status, he could be an attractive name at the deadline– and no contender right now could use him more than the Yankees.
The Yankees have been lacking a true first baseman all season. Chris Carter has received the lion’s share of time at first, and Carter’s .201/.287/.384 slash indicates the Yankees wouldn’t mind an upgrade there. The Yankees also have one of baseball’s most prospect-rich farm systems. And while it’s unlikely they’d move any of their major prospects for anyone– let alone Duda– it’s hard to imagine a situation where they wouldn’t at least inquire about Duda if the price was right and he was available. Imagine the damage he’d do with a short porch in right?
If Duda could net a mid-level prospect from a stacked Yankees farm system, the Mets would be ridiculous not to do that. Someone like infielder Tyler Wade (11th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system) or left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin (2013 first-round pick by the Yankees) could be realistic returns for Duda, although it’s always hard to gauge trade value before a player actually hits the open market.
2017 may look bleak for the Mets, but hope still exists in 2018 and beyond.
Thoughts from Mike M
If the Mets decided to make Duda available as we get closer to the deadline he would likely be one of the best sluggers available and the Yankees would certainly seem like a good fit currently.
Yankees first basemen are hitting a combined .197/.294/.373 this season while striking out 32.9% of the time. Duda and his .239/.351/.528 slash line would be a tremendous boost to their offense at first.
The four bottom teams in wRC+ from the first base position are Texas Rangers (79), Yankees (78), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (78) and the Seattle Mariners (75). All three of the AL West teams are within two games of a Wild Card spot and could be looking to improve the offensive production from first base.
The second place Minnesota Twins are another team that could use the services of Duda with Joe Mauer, Kennys Vargas and others combining at first and DH for a below league average .765 OPS. They are a surprise contender only 1.5 games out of first place in the AL Central.
Eric Hosmer would have added another first baseman to the trade deadline mix (and still could), but the Kansas City Royals have been on a tear recently and are now only two games out of a playoff spot.