The Mets traded first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitching prospect Drew Smith, the team announced prior to Thursday's loss to the Padres.
Smith, a projected late-game reliever, is 1-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 31 appearances this season between Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He has spent most of the season pitching for Single-A Charlotte.
He will report to Double-A Binghamton, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
"The fans obviously are unbelievable, the guys in the clubhouse are second to none, our staff, our front office is first class from top to bottom," Duda told reporters after being informed of the trade. "I am very thankful to be in the position I am. I am proud of my time with the New York Mets and I'm sure I'll proud of my time as a Tampa Bay Ray."
Duda, 31, hit .246 with 17 home runs and 37 RBIs in 75 games with the Mets this season. He spent his entire career with New York since the team drafted him in the seventh round in 2007, as he debuted in 2010 and has 125 home runs and 378 RBIs in 760 games. He is eligible to become a free agent at season's end.
In place of Duda, Jay Bruce started at first base for the seventh time this season.
Duda is a nice guy and occasionally a big hitter, but the Mets were not going to re-sign him and so he had to be moved. I'm happy he'll be in the AL, where he can begin transitioning to DH. As just a hitter, not bogged down with being just an adequate fielder, he's going to crush it. I bet he becomes an elite DH and I look forward to watching him flourish.
As for the Mets, it's time for Dominic Smith, who Mets fans are going to enjoy, to be called up. He'll be manning first base starting in a couple of weeks. He's a totally different player than Duda -- he has less power but a significantly better glove. He's also a charismatic speaker with a very funny, laid back personality.
However, Newsday's Marc Carig reported late Thursday that Smith, who has a .337/.390/.524 batting line with 15 home runs and 68 RBIs in 102 games in Triple-A, is not likely to be promoted until after top shortstop prospect Amed Rosario joins the Mets, which is likely to occur within the next few weeks.
In regards to Drew Smith, the pitcher the Mets acquired, members of the Rays organization said last winter they viewed him as a back-end reliever. Insiders described him as a versatile, powerful set-up guy, not a future closer. He's capable of joining the Mets this September and certainly at some point next season.
GM Sandy Alderson did as well as he could have given the limited teams looking for a first baseman. For what it's worth, the Yankees were among the teams interested in Duda, but it seemed they were going to play the waiting game and/or continue explore other options.