With baseball's Winter Meetings set to get underway Monday, the New York Mets are expected to intensify talks with teams as they look to trade either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, reports Marc Carig of Newsday.
The team has a need at shortstop and pitcher, meaning one of the two first basemen may be sent off to fill other holes. New York had discussions with other clubs earlier in the offseason, with the Brewers having notably shown interest. A rumored Norichika Aoki/Ike Davis swap is officially dead now that Aoki was sent to the Royals, however. Furthermore, the Mets' signing of Curtis Granderson also means they are not as desperate for an outfielder anymore.
New York has been rumored to prefer trading Davis over Duda. The 26-year-old Davis hit 32 home runs with a 771 OPS in 2012, but hit just .161/.242/.258 through June 9 last season, necessitating a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. In a month-long stint in Nevada, Davis crushed minor league pitching to the tune of a 1.091 OPS with seven home runs in 21 games. He was called back up and continued his hot hitting with a .267/.429/.443 batting line in 48 games before an injury at the end of August ended his season.
Duda, 27, stepped in at first base in September while Davis was out after spending most of his season in the outfield. Over 100 games in 2013, Duda hit .223/.352/.415 with 15 home runs. While he does not have the upside of Davis, particularly in the power department, Duda is seen as the safer bet to be a solid player. Both players are left handed and hit far better against righties. Whoever remains on the team is likely to platoon with Josh Satin, who hit well for the Mets last year.
While the Mets no longer see Ruben Tejada as a long-term option at shortstop, the only player remaining on the free agent market that would be a clear upgrade is Stephen Drew, who may prove too expensive for New York. The Mets are also looking for both a starting pitcher and an improvement in the bullpen. With a little over $10 million remaining for their 2014 Opening Day payroll, a trade of Davis or Duda may be the most effective way to fill at least one of those holes.