Lucas Duda Rumors

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Monday

As of Monday morning, 35 players had yet to come to an agreement with their team after exchanging arbitration figures (as can be seen in our Arb Tracker). We’ll keep track of the day’s minor settlements here, with all projections coming via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

  • The Mets and Lucas Duda have avoided arb by settling on a one-year, $4.2MM contract, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Duda had filed at $4.7MM, while the Mets came in with a $3.75MM offer. Duda’s contract is just shy of the $4.225MM midpoint and his $4.3MM projection. The 28-year-old was arb-eligible for the second time this offseason after a breakout season in which he batted .253/.349/.481 with a career-best 30 home runs. He’ll be eligible twice more as a Super Two player.
  • Heyman also tweets that Brandon Belt and the Giants have settled on a $3.6MM salary for the 2015 season. Eligible for arbitration for the second time as a Super Two player this offseason, Belt received a fairly small $700K raise from last year’s $2.9MM salary after injuries limited him to just 61 games. When on the field, Belt batted .243/.306/.449 with a dozen homers in 235 plate appearances. He had filed at $4.5MM as the Giants filed at $3MM, making for a $3.75MM midpoint. While he settled a bit shy of that midpoint, he still did well to top his $3.4MM projection by $200K.

NL East Notes: Duda, Colon, Gonzalez, Stanton, Venters

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda may or may not fully blossom into a star, but his breakout year has at least forestalled any need for the club to go out and find a new first baseman, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs. Here’s more from the NL East:

  • Both the Angels and Royals have considered attempting to deal for Mets righty Bartolo Colon, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (Twitter links). At present, however, neither possible suitor is in strong pursuit, with dollars being a major deterrent and the sides not necessarily seeing eye to eye on a return.
  • The Phillies will likely give Miguel Gonzalez a September call-up, writes Jim Salisbury of Gonzalez has thrived recently in the upper minors in a relief role, but that transition away from the rotation means that Philadelphia will need to act quickly to reap any value from the 28-year-old’s three-year, $12MM pact.
  • Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton says that he is still not certain that he wants to commit to a long-term deal with Miami, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports. While the club now features a fairly interesting, younger roster with some future promise, Stanton noted that “five months doesn’t change five years.”
  • The Braves have shut down reliever Jonny Venters after he came up with a sore elbow when he tried to increase his velocity, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. The southpaw, who had been attempting to return from his second Tommy John procedure, earned $1.625MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility (the same figure as his first) after missing all of 2013. A non-tender certainly appears to be a reasonably likely scenario after the year.

Sherman On Papelbon, Duda, Mariners

Here’s the latest hot stove news from four pieces by Joel Sherman of the New York Post…

  • Jonathan Papelbon has told the Phillies that he won’t waive his no-trade clause to go to a team that will use him as anything less than a full-time closer.  Between the lack of teams looking for closing help and Papelbon’s large remaining salary, this is yet another obstacle that would hamper the Phils’ ability to trade their stopper, though they’re reportedly willing to eat at least some of Papelbon’s salary in a trade.
  • The Rays were one of several teams who tried to obtain Lucas Duda from the Mets over the years, yet the Mets held onto the young slugger and are reaping the benefits of Duda’s breakout season.  Playing largely against right-handed pitching, Duda has 18 homers and a .259/.356/.500 slash line over 365 PA.
  • The Mets and Yankees both sorely need to add some power, Sherman opines.
  • The Rays had talent evaluators specifically watching Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker‘s start against the Mets last week.
  • The Mariners have been linked to David Price, though one scout doesn’t know why Seattle is looking to add pitching and not hitting.  “Their rotation can do damage in the playoffs, but I don’t know if that offense can get to the playoffs,” the scout told Sherman.  “If you are going to trade a prospect as good as Walker, don’t you have to get the bat you so desperately need?”  Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, however, says it’s all about the caliber of talent available to be added to a team.  “If you consider David Price a [grade] A and the only thing available to you as a hitter is a C-plus hitter, you are better off with the A pitcher.  It really all depends what opportunity presents itself. What are you giving up to what are you getting back?“, Zduriencik says.
  • Speaking of Price, the Rays‘ recent hot streak has convinced one rival executive that the club will hold onto its star left-hander though the deadline.  Tampa can always re-open trade talks about Price in the offseason and in the meantime keep their ace and keep gunning for the top of the weakened AL East, the executive tells Sherman.

Mets Notes: Duda, Young, Abreu, Bullpen, Colon

Chris Young's tenure with the Mets isn't off to an ideal start, as the outfielder has already been placed on the disabled list with a quad injury sustained in the cold weather on Wednesday. Young called the situation a "bad dream" when talking with's Anthony DiComo, who also spoke to manager Terry Collins about the $7.25MM man's early DL stint. More on the Amazin's as some teams wrap up their opening series…

  • Manager Terry Collins told reporters earlier today that the Mets will give one first baseman a chance to prove himself beginning tomorrow, and Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that it will be Lucas Duda, not Ike Davis (Twitter links). Duda will be given a "real shot" to prove he can hold the job down, according to Martino.

Earlier Updates

  • Bobby Abreu's minor league deal with the Mets is worth $800K, and he can opt out if not on the Major League roster by April 30, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Abreu signed with the Mets after his release from the Phillies late last month.
  • The Mets' bullpen woes only increased today, as a variety of arms struggled once again in action against the Nationals. The focal point of that general concern, of course, is injured closer Bobby Parnell, who figures to be out for at least six weeks and possibly much longer. As Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes, replacing Parnell is a delicate balancing act. An outside addition is always possible, of course, but the options are limited. And while the team may well look to some young arms to bolster the MLB relief corps before long, it will need to be careful not to stunt the development of the team's key prospects.
  • Martino also examined Bartolo Colon's importance to the Mets, and in doing so revealed that the Mets were the only club to offer Colon a multi-year deal. The Mets knew they needed to overpay after five losing seasons, according to Martino, who adds that Tim Hudson was willing to pitch for the Mets earlier in the offseason prior to signing a two-year, $23MM deal with the Giants.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

Quick Hits: Forbes, Castro, Mets, Luhnow

The average value of a Major League Baseball franchise is now $811MM, a rise of nine percent from 2013 that can be largely attributed to an increase in TV revenue, according to Forbes Magazine's Mike Ozanian.  For the 17th straight year, the Yankees (worth $2.5 billion) top Forbes' annual valuation of baseball's franchises.  The Dodgers ($2 billion), Red Sox ($1.5 billion), Cubs ($1.2 billion) and Giants ($1 billion) also hit the ten-figure mark, while the Rays had the lowest value at $485MM.  The Mets, Marlins and Astros were the only three franchises who saw their values drop from last year's Forbes rankings.

Here's some more news from around baseball…

  • Starlin Castro says he's open to moving from shortstop to accommodate star prospect Javier Baez, CSN Chicago's David Kaplan reports.  "If I need to move positions, I'm OK with that," Castro said.  "If he is on our team and him being there helps the team win, then I am fine with that. I just want our team to win. That's it."  There had been speculation that Baez would see time at second base at Triple-A this season in preparation for a position switch of his own, though Cubs manager Rick Renteria stated that Baez would play short in the minors.  Widely considered one of baseball's top prospects, Baez has a .903 OPS in 916 minor league PA and hit even better during the Cubs' Spring Training camp this year.
  • The Mets' inability to find a trade partner for Ike Davis last winter means that the club is now in the awkward situation of finding playing time for both Davis and Lucas Duda at first base, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  Neither left-handed slugger hits southpaws well, so while Josh Satin will start against lefties, Davis and Duda will have to divvy up the starts against right-handers.
  • Astros manager Bo Porter said today that the club's top waiver claim priority was keeping them from finalizing the rotation, and general manager Jeff Luhnow went into more detail with reporters (including Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle) about his team's examination of the waiver wire.  "I will tell you that these days we’re meeting every day at least once…probably twice, and we get input from the staff and do our research," Luhnow said.  “This is the time of year with clubs setting their 25-man roster in the next couple days that every other guy that’s out of options comes available, and we’re going to look at it seriously because it’s a way that we can fill the team.”
  • The Rangers, Athletics, Rockies, Angels and Diamondbacks all made notable moves this offseason that could prove to be mistakes within a few seasons or even in 2014, opines ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required).  Colorado might've broken even in Bowden's eyes, though, since the Rockies are also on the good end of one of those "backfire" transactions.
  • When a number of scouts, managers and other baseball personnel were asked “Were there any young players you watched and said, ‘this guy has a chance to be a star?’” by Peter Gammons, the name most often cited was Carlos Correa.  The Astros shortstop headlines the top 10 list, though Cubs fans will be excited to know that Kris Bryant, Baez and Albert Almora all cracked the top seven.

Mets Notes: Davis, Duda, Tejada

Mets first baseman Ike Davis is playing in a regular spring training game today, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin tweets. Davis has been out of action, at least in Grapefruit League games, since early March due to a calf injury. His return could be significant, since he has long been a trade candidate. Two days ago, the Mets were reportedly making calls to assess interest in Davis, but it seemed unlikely they would trade him until he was ready to return from injury. The Pirates, who are in need of a left-handed first base option, potentially could be a trade partner. Here are more notes on the Mets.

  • The Mets still have to decide between Davis and Lucas Duda, and now have little time to do so, given the injuries to both players, Andy Martino of New York Daily News writes. Martino reports that the Mets are more likely to trade Davis than Duda, but are open to dealing either one.
  • Martino also says scouts believe Ruben Tejada could be a good player if removed from the New York market. "The way I look at Tejada, he could be OK, but he needs to get out of New York," says a scout. "A classic change-of-scenery guy." The Mets continue to watch the markets for Nick Franklin and Didi Gregorius (who would be available via trade) and Stephen Drew (via free agency), but are unlikely to play the prices required for any of those players.

Mets Resume Gauging Interest In Ike Davis

While it looked as if the Mets were comfortable heading into the season with both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda in tow,'s Adam Rubin reports that GM Sandy Alderson has resumed calling clubs to gauge interest in Davis.

Davis hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game in two weeks due to a calf injury and would presumably need to prove healthy for another club to take him on. Rubin adds that Davis is scheduled to DH in a minor league game today, though he hasn't been running after contact in that setting due to the leg injury. Also of note, Rubin adds that at least one American League team is showing interest in Lucas Duda, and the Mets aren't completely adverse to dealing him should the right offer present itself. 

The Pirates have long been linked to Davis and can't be thrilled with what they've seen from Andrew Lambo (2-for-31) or Chris McGuiness (.616 OPS) thus far in Spring Training. The Brewers were seen as a potential fit at one point, but they have many options in camp now and reportedly informed Mark Reynolds that he was a near certainty to make the club when he signed a minor league deal.

Many clubs in the AL have been seeking offensive upgrades — most notably the Orioles and Mariners (the two most oft-connected clubs to Kendrys Morales in recent weeks). However, Seattle has a great deal of first base/DH types on its roster and a lineup that leans too heavily to the left side of the plate as it is. Baltimore would make a bit more sense, but acquiring Duda would likely shift Nelson Cruz into full-time outfield duties, which the club did not appear to be planning on at the time of his signing.

The Astros were linked to a number of first basemen in a report earlier today, but it's unclear at this time if they've shown an interest in either of the Mets' strikeout-prone sluggers. The Rays reportedly proposed a one-for-one swap of Davis and Matt Joyce at one point this offseason but were turned down. They may not be so keen on that concept now with Davis' leg ailing and James Loney back in the fold on a three-year, $21MM deal.

Mets Avoid Arbitration With Lucas Duda

The Mets have avoided arbitration with Lucas Duda, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.6375MM, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Duda is a client of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

Duda and the Mets submitted arbitration figures last week, with Duda filing at $1.9MM and the club filing at $1.35MM. His $1.6375MM is slightly north of the midpoint between the two figures.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old slipped to a .223/.352/.415 batting line in 2013, in large part due to a decline in his BABIP that was prompted by a decreased line-drive rate. Duda still showed excellent plate discipline, walking at a 14.3 percent clip, and posted a strong .192 ISO. His 15 homers tied his 2012 mark as well. Despite persistent rumors to the contrary this offseason, it seems that the Mets will head to Spring Training with both Duda and Ike Davis on the roster. The two figure to once again compete for time at first base, but the outfield looks like less of an option for Duda after New York's winter additions of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young. He does have an option remaining (Davis does not), creating the possibility that Duda could be ticketed for Triple-A.

Arbitration Links: Hearings, Braves, Duda

Bluebird Banter looks at both the Blue Jays' most recent arbitration hearings and, more importantly for the general MLBTR readership, the most recent arb hearing from each team. The Indians have gone the longest without an arbitration hearing, having not taken a case to court since Jerry Browne and Greg Swindell back in 1991. Anibal Sanchez and Emilio Bonifacio are the two most recent players to win arb hearings, both coming against the Marlins in 2012. The whole table is worth checking out, featuring notable names like Kyle Lohse, Andruw Jones, A.J. Pierzynski and Oliver Perez. Here are some more links related to the possible arb cases we could see next month …

  • With several star Braves players (Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, and Jason Heyward) set to face a hearing, writes's Mark Bowman, the effects on the organization could be long-lasting. First of all, if Kimbrel wins the $9MM salary he has requested, he would set himself up for two more massive arb paydays that could force Atlanta to deal him. As for Freeman and Heyward, both of whom are represented by Excel Sports Management, Bowman says that the confrontational hearing process could potentially make it at least marginally harder (or, at least, more expensive) to keep them around for the long haul. 
  • The Mets will continue to negotiate with first baseman/outfielder Lucas Duda after exchanging numbers, reports Adam Rubin of The respective salary submissions ($1.35MM vs. $1.9MM) did not fall among the most difficult-to-bridge gaps, as noted in my roundup of notable arbitration situations from Friday.
  • Club GM Sandy Alderson also said today (courtesy of Rubin) that Duda could see time in the outfield next year, and could conceivably break camp with the Mets alongside Ike Davis. Since Duda has an option remaining, his 2015 arbitration case could suffer from a lack of playing time if he does not force his way onto the active roster for a substantial portion of the coming season.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Mets “Not That Actively Engaged” In Davis Trade Talks

Though there's been a lot made of Ike Davis' availability on the trade market this offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson tells Anthony DiComo of that the Mets are "not that actively engaged in trade discussions involving Ike at this point." Alderson says that he's comfortable heading to camp with both Davis and Lucas Duda in the mix.

Alderson repeated that he has no plans to simply give Davis away: "We're not going to move Ike just to move Ike — or any other player for that matter. This is a trade market, not a yard sale … You can only ask someone to dance so many times before you get the message."

DiComo writes that there is now a probability that Davis and Duda are both still with the Mets when Spring Training opens next month, as Alderson has not been able to land the young, controllable pitcher he's been seeking in exchange for Davis (he's reportedly asked for Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers and Eduardo Rodriguez from the Orioles).

That all has to come as good news to Davis himself, who told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News on Thursday that he wants to stay with the Mets and wants another chance. Davis and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are currently looking for a house to rent near the Mets' Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., adds Martino. Davis told Martino that while he feels that his availability has been discussed too much in the media, he doesn't feel disrepsected by it. He also said that he respects Duda, and the two competing for playing time is nothing new: "Look, we have basically been competing for the same job since Double-A. I think Duda is a great ballplayer. I have a lot of respect for him."