3 games, 3 different first basemen, no hits from any starter. This is exactly what the worst case scenario looks like for the New York Mets first base situation in 2014. The struggles at the position in recent years, whether it has been Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, have been well documented. In fact it was reported during the offseason that the Mets would try to trade either Davis or Duda. However, they both remain on the roster and thus far have each started one game, the third starter being utility corner infielder Josh Satin. The only hit between the three players came from Davis as a pinch hitter on Thursday. It is strange enough to see a three player platoon at any position and it’s even worse if none of the players can contribute offensively.
Satin will likely remain as part of the platoon for the long term as he provides an right-handed hitter against tough lefties, which is why he started against Gio Gonzalez on Wednesday. However, Satin does not provide the same offensive sparks that Davis and Duda are capable of giving. Satin is fine for a platoon player or a pinch hitter but he likely will not be an every day first baseman.
There was a time not too long ago when Ike Davis was considered a bright spot in the Mets lineup. He hit .264 with 19 home runs in just under 150 games in 2010 and he was just getting started. He was hitting over .300 with 7 home runs when he injured his ankle in 2011 and it has been all downhill from there. He struggled mightily in 2012 barely avoiding demotion. Though he finished the year with 32 home runs his batting average was nowhere near previous levels at .227. In 2013 he was demoted for part of the year and ended up hitting just .205 with 7 home runs, the same amount that he had hit in 3-times fewer games in 2011. He has battled injury and ineffectiveness in the last few years and may be on his last strike with the Mets.
Lucas Duda was expected to be another power bat in the Mets lineup. He played in the outfield for the beginnings of his MLB career because his path at first base was expected to be blocked by Davis. However with Ike’s struggles Duda got his share of chances. He hasn’t run away with the job either. He’s hit 15 home runs in each of the last two seasons but his batting average didn’t break .240 and has spent time in the minor leagues a few times over the past couple of seasons.
Both Davis and Duda have shown flashes of power and promise but until either of them can sustain their offensive production for a whole season, look for the Mets to continue to explore options.
After 3 games this season, there are reports that Terry Collins is going to give Duda more starts at first base. The Mets will still likely explore trade options as they are still in need of a shortstop and given the performance of the bullpen, additional relievers would be welcomed as well. If Duda wins the starting job Davis could be the trade bait. The signing of Bobby Abreu could provide a left-handed power bat off the bench should Davis be shipped. The only question is will the Mets like what they can get for him.