The New York Mets now have a hole in their lineup, as first baseman Lucas Duda was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his lower back.
At this point, it is unclear how long Duda will be sidelined with the injury, but with a lack of internal options, the Mets might be forced to try to find someone to fill the gap elsewhere to fill the void until Duda is able to return.
It’s possible the Mets might stick with what they have within the organization, but there are some external options that could come into play if Mets do decide to look elsewhere.
Possible Trade Candidates
This list might now “WOW” you, but there are some options that the Mets could possibly consider from this list of trade candidates.
The most intriguing players on this list are Carter, Lucroy and Smoak. Although they are very interesting, it’s likely that their price tag might be a little to high at this point.
Carter is off to a good start in his first season in Milwaukee, as the 29-year-old has already slugged 13 homers for the Brewers. He does have a high strikeout rate, but Carter is a player that can help provide pop in the lineup, and can serve in a platoon type of role once Duda returns.
Smoak is off to a good start in Toronto as well, but the Blue Jays are probably not willing to part with Smoak at this point. With Chris Colabello currently serving a 80-game suspension, the Blue Jays will likely keep Smoak around as insurance, especially being that he has been playing well to start the season.
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com listed Lucroy as a possible option for the Mets at first base, as Lucroy could fill multiple roles for this Mets team. If the Mets are willing to give up the necessary package for Lucroy, the 29-year-old can serve as the team’s first baseman for the time being, and then can return to catching when Duda returns to the lineup. The Mets have had their issues behind the plate, health and production wise, and an All Star caliber player like Lucroy could be a huge boost to the Mets everyday lineup.
If the options above aren’t a possibility for the Mets, a Kelly Johnson reunion might be something the team might look into. Atlanta is willing to trade away their veteran players, and with Johnson’s early struggles, the Mets could possibly re-acquire him for a lower price.
Free Agents/Minor League Veterans
If Justin Morneau was healthy, he would be a perfect fit for the Mets at this point. However, the 35-year-old is coming off elbow surgery and is not close to being game ready, so it’s likely that Morneau is not a fit at this point.
There are numerous veteran first baseman around the minor leagues who can opt out of their current deals to seek opportunities to be added to someone else’s big league roster.
That list includes veterans such as Davis and Swisher, who both have past experiences playing in New York. The Mets are unlikely interested in Swisher, who has a history of knee injuries, but Davis could be a really intriguing option. Mets fans might not want to hear those words, but the 29-year-old is putting up good numbers for the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate and could be an legitimate option to find his way back to the Big Apple.
Right now, the team’s best option might be James Loney, who is currently playing in the San Diego Padres organization. The 32-year-old is putting up nice numbers so far this season, as he’s posted a slash line of .333/.368/.417 in 39 games at the Triple-A level.
As a patient hitter and a good defensive first baseman, Loney could be an impact type of player for the Mets right away if they elect to sign him. It’s likely that Loney has interest in the Mets open first base position, but it remains to be seen if the Mets will show interest as well.
The Mets are hopeful that Lucas Duda is not forced to miss a significant amount of time, but if he is sidelined for longer than expected, the Mets might be forced to make a move to bring in another first baseman to fill the void.
There are plenty of options out there, but it remains to be seen which route the Mets take in finding a replacement. Although there is a lot of baseball left to be played, the Mets have a legitimate shot to win the National League East Division, and that might force them to make a move sooner rather than later.