Mets 1B Lucas Duda was put on the 15-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his back, the team announced before Monday's game.
Duda, who has hit 64 home runs for the Mets the last two and a half seasons, is expected to miss at least four to six weeks, according to Terry Collins.
"We're not going to be able to replace Lucas internally," Mets assistant GM John Ricco told reporters before Monday's game. "We're losing one of our better players. It's not like we have another Lucas Duda in the organization."
Ricco isn't flat out saying, "We need to trade for someone." But, if they are looking outside the organization, their best, most attainable, realistic options will likely be Kelly Johnson (Braves), James Loney (Padres), and free-agent Michael Morse.
Obviously, these men are not my first choice. And, they're almost certainly not Ricco's or Sandy Alderson's first choices, as well. However, they're all affordable, flexible and on the short-term solution side, which is what I bet the front office will be seeking.
James Loney (Padres): He hasn't been powerful in Triple-A this season, but then again he's never been a power guy. Basically, he's basic. He'll hit around .280, play a sound first base, he won't strike out much, draw some walks and, maybe, just maybe, he'll connect on a home run or two.
According to the NY Post's Joel Sherman, the Mets have some interest in Loney, and his representatives will soon reach out to see if there's a fit.
Kelly Johnson (Braves): He was acquired by the Mets last summer from the Braves. He's with the Braves again. So, we know these teams are capable of hooking up on this level deal. He's not in demand, and Atlanta has shown themselves to be very willing to make deals, especially since Johnson is hardly in their long-term plans. However, he's a not a true first baseman and he's off to a slow start. That said, the two sides know one another and he'd slip nicely back to the bench should another option present itself.
Michael Morse (Free agent): He played well for the Pirates in 45 games last season, but then they cut him early in 2016. He's not a true first baseman, but he can hold down the spot. Also, though his power numbers have dipped, he has a track record that will likely get the front office's attention. More important, he's without a job, won't cost much in dollars and will cost nothing in trade.
In the event Johnson, Loney and Morse are not acceptable, here are other options worth exploring...
Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers): He's available, because it's widely known around baseball that Milwaukee has talked about him with a bunch of teams during the last six months, specifically the Astros and Rangers. He will not be cheap. In fact, I'm not sure the Mets have the young freight to get him, after dealing and promoting so many prospects the last few seasons. He'd be a nice fit, though, because - in addition to filling in at first base - he would be able fill in at catcher, while the team awaits the return of Travis d'Arnaud.
Chris Carter (Brewers): He has a very inexpensive contract, and 13 HR, which will make him attractive to the Mets, I'm sure. He's more of a DH standing at first base, which will not play as well in the NL. There have been no trade rumors connected to Carter, who is on a one-year deal. However, considering they're 18-26, I have to think the Brewers would move him if they could find a taker.
Matt Adams (Cardinals): I like Adams. He isn't flashy. He hits well, has some power, he's 27 and expendable in St. Louis. He's also a better hitter against right-handed pitching than left, which could make him a solid platoon guy for Wilmer Flores. Adams will earn just $1.6 million this season, and I have no sense of what it would take to get him in trade.
Mark Reynolds (Rockies): He's a veteran, will not cost a lot in trade, he's making just $2.6 million and, while he strikes out a ton, he's actually hitting for more power again. He also hits well from the right side, meaning he could have a bench role on this team in the event Duda returns...
I should also list Justin Smoak (Jays), Logan Morrison (Rays), Mitch Moreland (Rangers), Travis Ishikawa (White Sox), Allen Craig (Red Sox), Jesus Montero (Blue Jays), Jason Rogers (Pirates), Casey McGehee (Tigers) and - dare I say - Ike Davis (Rangers), but this is getting out of hand. It has to end some place. And, until I see them totally pass on Loney, Morse and Johnson, I'm reluctant to get too deep in to this list...