The Mets officially kicked off their trade deadline sell off by sending Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays. In exchange for Duda the Rays sent the Mets the 30th ranked prospect in their farm system (per MLB Pipeline), pitcher Drew Smith. The experts certainly weren’t kidding when they said the return for Duda would be limited. Jesus Christ.
This kid Smith is 23 years old, can throw 96-98 MPH, and has pitched at Triple-A this season. I was hoping to get a couple of prospects in return for Duda, but I can understand why his value is limited. He’s an impending free agent, there were only two teams reportedly competing for his services (Rays and Yankees), and also the supply of power hitters is at an all-time high thanks to the new juiced up baseballs. So I suppose this is the best we could do for ol’ Lucas.
I love how every conversation about Duda ignites a goddamn fiery debate amongst Mets fans. Half the fan base says he sucks and half the fans love him and spend their days defending him on Twitter. You know what I think of him? He was fine. He was aight. I liked when he would go on one of his signature home run hot streaks. But I’m not crying and losing sleep over his departure.
You know when I will lose sleep? I’ll lose sleep the second he signs with a new team in the offseason and transforms into an MVP candidate. You know that’s coming. If you’re a Mets fan you know how it works at this point. Mets dump underappreciated long-time player who wants to stay with the team. Then the player becomes an MVP candidate. The transformation is not based on anything logical. We’ve all watched Duda for years now. We’ve all looked at his stats a million times. We know what he is. In his career he’s been an above average hitting major league first baseman with some pop, decent OBP skills, and an average glove at best. But we also know what those stats mean once a player leaves the Mets. Zilch.
Justin Turner is still leading the league in hitting this year with his .365 average. Daniel Murphy still hanging around right behind Turner with his .340 average. How is this possible? It’s just God’s anti-Mets voodoo magic. I can’t wait to see if the streak continues and Duda magically goes from decent player to megastar the second he sheds the cursed orange and blue jersey. Remember his back woes? They’ll “magically” disappear now that he’s escaped the wrath of Ray Ramirez.
I’m imagining Duda transforming like the Beast at the end of the Disney movie. The second he pops on a new uniform sparks start flying all around him. He inexplicably floats into the air and then is slowly lowered back to the ground. By the time he lands his back injuries are healed, and he’s developed extra power, elite contact skills, and a Gold Glove.
P.S. – The Mets didn’t pick up one dollar of Duda’s remaining salary in an attempt to try and improve the return they received from the Rays. Shock of the century.