The Mets should go cheap in finding Duda a right-handed platoon partner

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Hot Stove, Opinion
Tags: , , ,

By Steven Inman

The Mets answer to first base doesn't have to be just one player.

The Mets answer to first base doesn’t have to be just one player.

The Mets biggest needs this winter are shortstop and in the outfield but the team also has smaller needs to address.

The Mets are going to need to find a right-handed hitting first base platoon mate for Lucas Duda this winter. Duda hit .180 with two homers in 111 at bats against lefties in his 2014 breakout campaign.

While Michael Cuddyer’s name has come up on a number of occasions, the Mets can fill this small hole on a much cheaper level, saving money to address outfield and possibly shortstop. A great option to fill this platoon is lefty-killing infielder Danny Valencia.

Valencia started his career as an everyday third basemen with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. After the league sort of figured the Miami native out, he bounced around to a few teams but one skill never left him and that is the ability to mash left-handers.

Valencia hit .321 vs. lefties in 112 at bats in 2014 and is a career .327/.368/.502 hitter against left-handers in 229 career games.

Valencia has experience at both first and third. Valencia is property of the Blue Jays. He will be eligible for arbitration this winter for the first time which would make him a possible non-tender. MLB Trade Rumors has Valencia at around $1.7 million if the Jays offer the 30-year old arbitration. The Mets can probably get him for a little over a million if he is put on the open market and he would fit a huge need.If the Blue Jays do tender him a contract he would be far from untouchable in a trade.

Lucas Duda hit .272/.372/.543, that combined with Valencia’s line vs. lefties could make for top 5 NL Production at first base all for less than a combined five million.

How should the Mets handle first base this winter?

  1. Reblogged this on Pepper Mets Blog and commented:
    Here’s a nice article I stumbled upon today. My only question is: Duda hit 30 Homeruns, why bench him even at a platoon environment? This makes no sense to me, he by far had the most power of any 2014 Met, and shouldn’t even be mentioned as a platoon player. Also, this makes Lucas Duda’s confidence level decline dramatically. We don’t need another distraction. The Mets should focus on acquisitioins for Shortstop and/or Left Field.

    • Steven Inman says:

      Niko thanks for the comment you make some good points. Despite 30 homers last season Duda still didn’t hit lefties at all. Duda hit .180 against left-handers in 2014 and is a career .212 hitter in 470 at bats against southpaws. Duda hit 28 of his 30 homers this year off a right-handers.

      If the Mets had a guy who could mash against lefties and still play Duda 2/3rds of the games strictly against right-handers than the Mets could have one of the top first base solutions in all of baseball. The Mets started to platoon Duda toward the end of the summer and I expect them to platoon the slugger to start next year. Appreciate the comment. -Steve

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