A year ago at this time, the Mets had two left-handed, power-hitting first basemen, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis. In 2012, Davis had been much more productive than Duda when at his best, and mind-numbingly bad at his worst. The bad stuff was not for a short period; it went on for months, and it started on Opening Day. Combined with brutal play from Jason Bay in left field, it helped ruin a season for the team quickly. Since the season was going nowhere, Davis could be afforded the rest of the season to hit, and Ike delivered, he was the good Ike. During all of it, the other left-handed first baseman, Duda, was tried in the outfield. He proved himself more consistent with the bat than Davis, but of the two players, Ike’s highs were higher than Duda’s. Lucas did not hit enough to really distinguish himself as the answer at first base. He did establish that he couldn’t play the outfield, not one bit.
That combination of performances made the decision on what to do for 2013 difficult. So the Mets punted on a decision, with the underlying rationale being they were punting the entire 2013 season. Competing in 2013 was not a goal; the year was treated as one long extended spring training exercise. Within those parameters, they reinstalled Davis at first, and tossed Duda back out to the outfield so they could continue to monitor their bats. Sure, by now it was clear Duda would hurt the team more with his glove out there than he could hit but it was a good year to deal with it. We weren’t trying to win anyway, and the extra information on Duda would clear this up once and for all.
Davis, to his credit, did his part, putting together a putrid year. Duda really did his, too, proving again that he is a much more consistent hitter than Ike. But nothing special, either. And, if there were any doubters, he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he should never set foot in the outfield again.
Now it’s almost March of 2014. And, lo and behold, Davis and Duda remain on the roster. The latest news is that Davis will play almost every day at first, and that Duda could actually see time in the outfield. Why? So that the front office can watch them both and make a decision. As if what is needed is more evaluation time.
Now every once in a while we are teased with a trade rumor, and it would sure be an act of mercy for Mets fans if a trade ever got executed. If not, we are poised for another year of indecision. Duda and Davis are not kids anymore, and the plusses and minuses are known. The only people who don’t seem to think so are named Alderson and Collins.
Since launching this blog, we have written many posts addressing the Duda/Davis issue. I’m incredulous that the issue remains. It makes me so uneasy. If this front office can’t settle this one item, how can they ever provide the leadership to build a winning team?