The Rays have acquired Mets 1B Lucas Duda in exchange for pitching prospect Drew Smith, the team announced prior to Thursday night'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."
In place of Duda, Jay Bruce started at first base for the seventh time this season...
Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About Me): 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. He'll be manning first base here starting in a couple of weeks. He's a totally different player than Duda. Smith has less power than Duda, but a significantly better glove. He's also a charismatic speaker with a very funny, laid back personality.
In regards to Drew Smith, the pitcher the Mets are getting, Rays people 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...
By the way, the Yankees had interest in Duda, but they must have concluded continuing to explore A's 1B Yonder Alonso, internal options and waiting for the waiver wire were a better option than parting with a pitching prospect for Duda. That's fine. I like getting Drew Smith. I think Sandy Alderson did as well as he could have given the limited teams looking for a first baseman and especially if the Yankees were going to play the waiting game...
Newsday's Marc Carig reported late Thursday that Dominic Smith is not likely to be promoted until after SS prospect Amed Rosario joins the Mets, which is likely to occur in the next few weeks. Smith is hitting .337 with a .390 OBP and .524 SLG with 15 HR and 68 RBI in 102 games in Triple-A.
The 31-year-old Duda, who is eligible for free agency at the end of this season, hit .246 with a .347 OBP, 17 HR and 37 RBI in 75 games for the Mets this season. He was drafted by Omar Minaya's Mets in 2007, made his big-league debut three years later. In eight seasons with the Mets, Duda hit 125 home runs. Duda's 6.9 WAR ranks 11th among NL first basemen during that time, according to FanGraphs.com.