The New York Mets traded Carlos Beltran, their star right fielder, last year at the trade deadline. The effects on the team weren't felt immediately, but the team eventually showed that they missed Beltran's bat.
It's not easy to replace an all-star-caliber player like Beltran, but it seems as if the Mets might have found a serviceable replacement.
Lucas Duda is currently 25 years old, and it seems as if all signs are pointing to him being the Mets' Opening Day right fielder. Duda had a breakout season last year. After getting off to a sluggish start, Duda began to tear the cover off the ball.
He became a strong presence at the plate, and gave the Mets' lineup a much needed boost. Duda finished the season with a respectable line of .292/.370/.482 and 10 home runs. He played in exactly 100 games, and played a big part on the 2011 Mets.
With that said, there have still been reports circulating that the New York Mets are shopping Duda this offseason. Albeit, moderately shopping him, this still tells a lot about how the team sees Duda. It seems as if the team doesn't see Duda as a long term solution in right field.
If Duda stays with the Mets through the offseason, then he will definitely get his shot to prove to the Mets that he is the answer in right field.
Duda is a cheap option for the Mets, and there is no question that he has a lot of potential. Duda possesses mammoth power, and he is pretty fleet-footed, despite his lumbering size. He won't be a stolen-base king anytime soon, but he can run when he has to.
Duda's not the best fielder, but it is safe to say that he is an average fielder. He is probably working a lot on his fielding skills this offseason, and it will be interesting to see him in the field come spring training.
Is Lucas Duda the long-term answer for the Mets in right field?
The Mets are most likely going to hold on to Duda this offseason, and although he is on the trading block, it will take a great deal for the Mets to trade him—so don't bet on it.
The Mets might look to sign another outfielder this offseason. The team is looking for a solid backup outfielder, and Endy Chavez's name has been tossed around in the Mets' rumor mill.
The Mets don't seem poised to make splash in their outfield this year. Players like Chavez will continue to garner interest from the Mets, but don't expect the Mets to sign a big player. They have bigger problems to attend to, and it looks as if they are going to tender Pagan a contract.
The bottom line is that Duda is a talented player who will get a golden opportunity next season: 2012 will be extremely important for Duda and his career.
The Mets will be evaluating his skills, and will ultimately decide whether or not he is their right fielder of the future.