Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Sandy Alderson expects Ike Davis and Lucas Duda to be in camp together for Spring Training, he told SNY earlier this week in Chicago.
“We’re going to have some competition at first base,” he said. “It’s possible both will be on the team and, if they are, I think it’s important to have some flexibility in how they’re used.”
According to Alderson, it’s possible Duda could see time in the outfield, as well.
“W’re looking forward to the competition,” Alderson said, referring to a position battle at first base.
The Mets are not alone. In November, I mentioned how a mix-and-match, put-guys-in-the-best-position-to-succeed strategy is emerging across baseball, according to several people familiar with the market and front-office thinking.
“There is a premium on offense right now, especially power,” an NL source told me, after pointing out that fewer runs were scored last year than at any point in the last decade. It’s a common theme. He pointed to success last year in Oakland, Boston, St. Louis and Tampa — and the Yankees to a certain extent — who routinely used multiple lineups, platoons and rotated players.
It’s a market strategy that lead to the Reds giving Skip Schumaker, 34, a two-year, $10 million deal. Last year, he hit .262 in just 125 games for the Dodgers, but played second base and all three outfield positions.
In a talk with reporters during the Winter Meetings, Alderson said, “We’re looking for is eight players who give us our offensive package without completely sacrificing the defense.”
In looking at the likely 25-man, it’s clear we can expect to watch rotating platoon at first base, left and center field.
Thankfully, according to research by Kevin Brennan, a reader of MetsBlog, the Mets can feature a better-than-league average .318 OBP when using Davis at first and Duda in left against right-handed pitching, while turning to Josh Satin at first and Chris Young in right against left-handed pitching.
Brennan’s projections are based on three-year platoon splits, and Fangraphs projections for players who are less established. He also factored in the pitchers spot (assuming a .200 OBP), and the difference in at bats based on batting order using the NL averages from last year. “These are, of course, rough estimates,” he said.
Of course, I can’t see the Mets trusting Duda to patrol the outfield for 100 games a year. That would be insane. He’s fielding is so bad it would essentially negate anything he brings to the plate. Instead, I’m sure Terry Collins, Alderson and every pitcher on the team will always prefer to have Young, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares behind them. So, how this puzzle fits together remains to be seen…