It was only a matter of time. Like a game of chess, the Mets had to make a move in order to build towards the future. In doing so, they gave up a key piece on the board. The team announced that they have traded first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays. In exchange, the Mets received right-handed relief pitcher Drew Smith. The Rays’ No. 30 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, Smith will report to Double-A Binghamton.
Drafted by the Mets in 2007, Lucas Duda debuted with the team in 2010. He is a power hitter who can be streaky at times. For his career, Duda is batting .246 and has hit 125 home runs. He ranks seventh in team history with those home runs and his 71 dingers at Citi Field are the most in the ballpark’s history. In 2017, he is currently batting .246 with 17 home runs.
To some, Duda will be known as the man who made an errant throw in game five of the World Series against the Royals. To others, he will be known as a good player who helped his team after starting during the dark days of the 2010’s.
Speaking to the media, Duda had nothing but nice things to say about the Mets. He left on a positive note, stating:
“The guys here, I’ve grown pretty close to. It’s a first-class organization that treated me extremely well. I was very proud to be a New York Met, and I’m going to be very proud to be a Tampa Bay Ray.”
Duda will have time to truly say goodbye to New York this weekend; the Rays play the Yankees at The Stadium. He will be manning the DH position.
In Drew Smith, the Mets may have found a strong relief man. Drafted by the Tigers in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft, the 23-year old was sent to Tampa Bay this past April. In 79 career minor league games, Smith is 5-4 with a 1.80 ERA. He has 13 saves and 140 strikeouts. Something that catches the eye is his high 90’s fastball. Seeing him in action, Smith could be a closer one day. He certainly can back up that claim.
What do the Mets do now in regards to first base? The ideal scenario fans have in their heads would be to call up the highly-touted Dominic Smith. Their No. 2 prospect has been on fire in the minors, hitting over .330 with 15 home runs in AAA. The Mets have not called him up yet however, playing Jay Bruce at first base last night. Just like Amed Rosario, the team could be waiting until after the Trade Deadline to make a move.
With rumors of more moves on the way, more Mets will get a chance to say goodbye to one another. In Duda, the team lost a silent giant with some pop. In return, they got someone who can potentially be lethal out of the bullpen. Let’s see if the team can continue this trend.
On another note, who will Curtis Granderson follow now?