Going into 2016, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Lucas Duda would man first base for the bulk of the season, coming off two straight years of solid production.
A back injury derailed that plan, though, and the Mets found themselves turning to James Loney as a fill-in for the majority of the season, with Wilmer Flores seeing time against left-handed pitching until he too hit the disabled list.
Despite a strong start to his Mets tenure, Loney finished the year hitting .265 with a .307 OBP and a .397 SLG, while playing below-average defense, which ranked him as one of the least productive at the position in baseball. As expected, he will not be back with the Mets next season. However, Duda was again tendered a contract and is projected to earn just under $7 million next year.
Coming off a lost season, this may seem like a steep price for Duda, but his capacity for 30-home run power is a valuable commodity. In all likelihood, the Mets will be counting on a bounce-back year from Duda, with his low-risk salary, and with Wilmer Flores developing into an impressive platoon partner.
Depth at the position is still a problem -- just like last year. However, a bench pickup before the end of the offseason, plus a step forward for 1B prospect Dominic Smith, could put them on slightly surer ground entering this season.
Maggie Wiggin has been a Mets fan since birth and a MetsBlog contributor since 2013. She loves throwing hard and hitting hard and hates the DH. When baseball is out of season, she fills her days with data analysis and evaluation and patiently waits for Spring | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Archive Posts