Mets assistant GM John Ricco suggested today that the club is in the market for a first baseman with Lucas Duda suffering a stress fracture in his lower back, David Lennon of Newsday reports on Twitter. “We’re not going to be able to replace Lucas Duda internally,” said Ricco.
Duda’s timetable remains unclear, but he’s struggled through back issues of late, leading up to the diagnosis of a seemingly significant injury. Signals from the team were that he’d be out for at least four to six weeks, with a lengthier DL stint quite possibly in the cards.
It’s also not immediately clear what the team might look to do in terms of an outside addition. Certainly, it would need to be an upgrade over the various internal possibilities. For now, Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell are available to fill in. Infielders such as Wilmer Flores, David Wright, or Neil Walker could conceivably be shifted over to first, or the club could even experiment with moving an outfielder there.
Clearly, though, the Mets are not enamored of those possibilities, and it doesn’t appear as if any creative shuffling of veterans is presently under consideration. If the club does indeed go outside the organization, it’s possible to imagine a pure fill-in or a more permanent solution.
In weighing the possibilities, it’s worth remembering that Duda remains controllable via arbitration for one more season. And there aren’t many clubs with apparent trade chips that would likely be willing to deal at this stage of the season. New York may be forced to cobble things together with a minor addition for the time being and wait for an opportunity for a more robust solution, all while monitoring Duda’s progress.