Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is heading to Tampa Bay, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports. There have been rumors that the Rays were interested in both Duda and Addison Reed in recent days, and the trade came together quickly after initial reports of the swap this afternoon. Joel Sherman was the first to report the connection.
Duda is currently hitting .246/.347/.532, a respectable bounce back from a season plagued by injuries last year. He has 17 home runs in 219 plate appearances to go with that line. He’s been with the Mets since 2010, and has 125 career home runs in 760 games.
Tampa Bay already has a first baseman in 29-year-old Logan Morrison, but as Ken Rosenthal notes, the Rays have increased roster flexibility to slot Duda’s left-handed offense into their lineup in the designated hitter slot now that former DH Corey Dickerson is proving himself more than capable in the outfield.
Dickerson was shifted into the outfield after Colby Rasmus unexpectedly left baseball for (at least) the remainder of the season back in early July, and his improved play means that the Rays can feel comfortable with him staying out there while they add something more to the offense in the newly vacant DH role.
Drew Smith, a 23-year old RHP who was recently with the AA Montgomery Biscuits before ascending to AAA, is the piece being sent back to New York in the trade.
Smith is the 30th-ranked prospect in the Rays’ system, reportedly throws in the mid-to-upper 90s, and is being projected as a reliever. He’s put up a 1.80 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP in 124.2 innings in the minors and is seen by some as being close to big league ready.