With all signs pointing to little to no payroll increase for the 2013 season and Alderson hinting that the team will likely try to improve through trades this offseason I decided to look at some of the Mets tradeable assets. I want to do a few of these and I have several players in mind. If anyone has a suggestion for a player they would like me to review post it in the comments. My first subject will be Lucas Duda a player with tremendous offensive potential and equally large defensive shortcomings.
We have all seen some of the butcher job Duda has done in right field this year and according to Fangraphs Duda has been a -0.7 WAR player, but at the same time still has a 106 wRC+ which is above average in what has been termed a dissappointing season so far for the big lug. The question is, with a strong September - and Duda has been prone to late season surges (Career wRC+ 158 August, 119 September) - is the Dude auditioning for a starting 1B/DH job for another team next year?
It seems pretty clear that with Ike Davis' strong second half in 2012 he has put most of the fears about his first half to bed and he should hold onto his grasp on the Mets 1B job. That leaves the only option for Duda to play in the outfield, but this year has proven that even if he were not having a down year his offensive production would not make up for his defense in the outfield. Case in point, his career fWAR is at 0.0 leaving him as a replacement level player. Therefore it seems that the most value Duda could provide the Mets would come via trade.
Below are Duda's career stats and the stats for each position he might play going back to 2011. Stats courtesy of Fangraphs.
Career 260/343/437, 780OPS, .176 ISO, 21.7 K%, 10.2 BB%, .47 BB/K
116 wRC+, 0.0 fWAR, 806 PA, 27 HR, .0335 HR/PA
1B 256/328/438 766OPS .182 ISO 20.5 K% 9.1 BB% .45 BB/K
DH 265/339/448 787OPS .183 ISO 19.6 K% 9.3 BB% .47 BB/K
LF 260/325/426 751OPS .166 ISO 19.9 K% 8.1 BB% .41 BB/K
1B 263/338/439 778OPS .177 ISO 19.3 K% 9.7 BB% .50 BB/K
DH 268/342/431 773OPS .164 ISO 18.2 K% 9.7 BB% .53 BB/K
LF 256/320/409 729OPS .153 ISO 19.4 K% 7.9 BB% .41 BB/K
Also here is the rate of HR per plate appearance for each position because chicks dig the long ball.
Duda's career stats make him look like a roughly league average 1B/DH and a slightly above average LF on just offense alone. We all know that his career line is pulled down a little by his struggles this year and a strong end to the season could significantly increase his value as a trade chip to a team that will need a 1B/DH.
Possible teams to trade with:
I don't want to speculate too much on what teams would be interested and what Duda might be able to bring back mostly because I don't want to come across as a WFAN caller making wild trade proposals. I'll leave that to my AAOP in a few months, but here are some teams that Duda would make sense for as either an upgrade at some position or as a replacement for a FA.
Boston: After trading Adrian Gonzalez this year and potentially losing Ortiz to free agency, not to mention James Loney who Duda would be an upgrade over anyway, there is a pretty big hole in the middle of the Red Sox order. Could it be a Duda sized hole? Some other food for thought; Ryan Lavarnway who will probably be taking a share of the DH at bats is a righty and Duda is lefty sooo...
Tampa Bay: Luke Scott and Carlos Pena are the main 1B/DH tandem here. Duda would be an upgrade over both of them even if neither were probably leaving for FA. Also consider the Rays propensity to acquire players under team control and this is a clear trade target with some potential.
Cleveland: The top of the Indians depth chart for 1B/DH includes Matt LaPorta and Shelley Duncan. LaPorta has been below replacement level for three years and Duncan is barely staying in the positive in fWAR. They also have Casey Kotchman who will be a FA.
The final conclusion is that Duda should have some trade value as a slightly above average 1B/DH as it stands now. A strong September with a few more HR could definitely make him more valuable. The question remains as to how much a team would trade for a player like Duda wether it be in a package of players or just the Dude himself. Would he bring back major league talent or prospects? With that I'll leave you all to let your inner WFAN out. What kind of trade would you make with Duda?