Mariners miss out on Duda, what does that mean?
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto seemed hot on the trail of the Mets’ power-hitting first baseman Lucas Duda. As rumors swirled, M’s fans braced themselves for the inevitable news that Seattle had swapped some crazy package of names to New York for, likely, a half season rental.
Yet, that notification never came, and, instead, a bulletin came across stating that the Tampa Bay Rays, a team occupying one of the wild card spots the Mariners are fighting for, had acquired Duda. The cost: One bullpen prospect; the Rays’ 30th-ranked prospect at that.
Allow me to introduce you to Drew Smith. A young arm acquired by the Rays in a deal with the Tigers, who has posted a 1.60 ERA in 31 games this season. That is a stellar mark, but it has all come with AA Montgomery, and to swap one AA pitcher for proven MLB talent at the level of Duda seems like grade-A highway robbery.
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So knowing the Mets were willing to take so little for a player who was a cornerstone of their World Series team in 2015, should Dipoto have pushed harder, and what are they missing out on now that he has gone to Tampa.
First, in my opinion, Dipoto should’ve definitely pushed harder for Duda. As serviceable as Valencia has been for this team, you can’t go wrong by buying low on a one-time All Star. Your next question likely is, “He was an All Star one time, in 2014, and hasn’t played at that level since, why should we have traded for him?”
Well, in 2017, Duda has only hit .246 total, but has posted an OPS of .879, and has mashed left-handed pitching for a .308 average. He also has hit 17 homers with 37 RBIs. Now you’d likely say “Well isn’t Valencia left-handed too?”
Yes, Valencia is, but he’s hit .257 against righties, only an eight point decrease from his average on the season. So hypothetically, the Mariners could’ve platooned them, and if that simply wasn’t an option, they’d at the worst have another big bat that could be useful for giving Nelson Cruz some days off as the season gets into the home stretch.
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All this said, nothing can be done now as Duda heads to Tampa, but Dipoto and the Mariners still have four more days until the deadline to come up with some deal, whether it be for pitching help, or another bat.