Who Will Play First Base For the Mets Next Season?

Published on: 30th August, 2013

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Who Will Play First Base For the Mets Next Season?   | read this item

New York — Lucas Duda is a Met again, having been recalled over the weekend from Triple-A Las Vegas. An initial peek at the situation — Terry Collins said that Duda will play sparingly — makes it seem as though he is buried way behind Ike Davis and Josh Satin on the organizational depth chart.

But the reality is far more complex. The dynamic at first base for the Mets is unsettled, and will be one of the most fascinating subplots in the final month of the season. After much internal discussion and debate, the team still does not know who will man the position in 2014; as one Mets official put it to us recently, “first base is in flux.”

Roster decisions are interconnected, and part of the first base uncertainty involves the outfield. Sandy Alderson would love to acquire a slugging right or left fielder this offseason, via trade or free agency. If he is able to do so, a Davis (or Duda) platoon with Josh Satin (or maybe Wilmer Flores) could suffice. But, as we reported earlier this month, Alderson could search for a first baseman instead, if no outfielder appeals to him.

See? It will be a few months until these questions begin to settle. But the Mets have spent several years gathering data on and evaluating their internal options, so let’s look at how they view those.

Ike Davis

You know the broad strokes: He has has the most success in the major leagues of anyone in this group, but also the most failure. The Mets have been burned twice by heading into a season assuming that Davis could be a reliable cleanup hitter, and Alderson has voiced concerns about his rising arbitration salary becoming excessive, given the production.

Because his future could still split in several very different directions, Davis is one of the most fascinating players in New York for the remainder of this season. After his Vegas, ahem, vacation, he has become far more selective at the plate; his on-base percentage since the All-Star break is .472, which is highly Aldersonian. And for his lack of homers, Davis is slugging an excellent .516 in the second half.

ike davis

Davis initially slumped upon returning from Triple-A in early July, and according to team sources, came closer than anyone knew to earning himself a second (and far more damning) demotion. But he picked it up, stopped chasing so many bad pitches, and lifted himself back into the conversation for next year.

Oh, and not for nothing, but he’s the guy who a lot of teammates believe in. “To me, Ike should be the first baseman, hands down, and a lot of guys feel that way,” says one player who has spent years in the system watching Davis and Duda up close.

Lucas Duda

Despite the limited playing time he will see for the remainder of this season, Duda could still be at first next spring, and Davis could still be gone. There appears to be a wide range of internal opinions about Duda; while some Mets people have been telling us since spring training that he is on the outs and will never succeed in New York, others value him higher than Davis.

Either way, the competition between the two cannot continue beyond this season, and it is difficult to imagine both Davis and Duda with the organization in spring training. The tiebreaker could be as simple as trading the one that another team wants.

Josh Satin

Once viewed as an organizational guy, Satin’s on-base skills and smart preparation to become a bench player have elevated his status. Could easily be a righthanded complement to Davis or Duda next year; while those two have endured a summer that could change their career narratives, Satin has lifted himself in the opposite direction, establishing big league value.flores-bi26s.jpg

Wilmer Flores

Flores is similar in many ways to Satin, to whom he has been compared: Good hitter (ahead of Satin in that regard), but not enough power to start at a corner position — and not enough range to play anywhere else.

With David Wright injured, the Mets have seized an opportunity to showcase Flores at third base and could try to include him in an offseason trade; his reputation as a decent prospect probably gives him more value that Satin. Second base does not appear to be a realistic option, so if Flores is still with the organization next spring, he could find a home as the righty in a first base platoon.

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