When many Major League Baseball teams are embroiled in full-scale arbitration battles in a few weeks, the New York Mets will be standing on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs with pleasure.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets have agreed to a 1-year contract with outfielder Lucas Duda, and with that signing, they no longer have any arbitration-eligible players. Duda’s 1-year salary will sit at $1.6375 million, which is just a shade over the midpoint of the two offers that the sides exchanged late last week, and as a result of that, the figure itself isn’t a surprise.
The 27-year-old (who will be 28 by opening day) is a very divisive player, but one with a defined skillset that could certainly help the Mets in 2014. Duda has unquestionable power, with 44 home runs in less than 1,300 career plate appearances, but at the same time, he is a disaster on defense, regardless of position, and his .223 batting average in 2013 forced him to the minor leagues on more than one occasion.
Duda has a legitimate chance for real playing time with the Mets this season, simply because he will get on base (career 11.3% walk rate) and hit for power. If he can earn even 1-2 wins as a part-time player, he’ll outperform his contract number, and that’s the name of the game for the Mets.