The spring training battle between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda is spilling into the regular season. It is time for the front office to make a definitive decision and endorse one of them to play first base full time in 2014.
This is a mess the Mets should have cleaned up already, but now there are three first basemen on the roster: Davis, Duda and Josh Satin.
The Mets were not able to draw any conclusions from spring training because both Davis and Duda suffered minor injuries and combined for only 56 at-bats.
Either way, the spring training competition was a sham to begin with. Whatever they would have done in one month should not have drastically changed the front office’s hypothetical decision regardless. Both of them have failed to seize control of the first base position.
They were signed to one-year contracts this past offseason, but Davis and Duda may not get enough playing time as starters to prove their worth. One of them becoming a bench player would not make efficient use of their services.
Duda showed a propensity to get on base last season but was far from clutch. He hit an abysmal .145 with runners in scoring position in 2013.
Davis had an All-Star caliber second half of 2012 then got lost last season and spent time in the minors. His ceiling is higher than Duda’s, but his atrocious .205/.326/.334 slash line in 2013 cannot be ignored. Davis’ .334 slugging percentage ranked No. 27 amongst National League first basemen. Satin has only hit three home runs in his career and still ranked higher on the list.
Both players have underperformed and been sent down to the minor leagues before. Duda’s .223/.352/.415 slash line last season is impressive compared to Davis’ pitiful year.
It is appalling that manager Terry Collins would consider Duda in the outfield under any circumstance. He has proven that he cannot play defense in left and right field.
Playing Duda out of position weakens the Mets’ outfield defense and decreases playing time for other outfield candidates.
Ideally, the Mets have enough money or trade for a legitimate first baseman because neither of them has been consistent. Duda never played more than 121 games in a season. Davis has hit a meager .165 against left-handed pitching from 2011 to 2013.
Are the Mets hoping for a second coming of Davis’ 2012 season? Do they believe Duda could emerge as an on-base machine?
Both scenarios are far-fetched, but either way the Mets should have already decided which one they have more faith in. If Collins does not go all in with Davis or Duda, there will continue to be uncertainty with both of them.