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Monday, September 30, 2013
Mets have decision to make at first

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- Let the first base debate begin.

One of the big decisions for the Mets for next season will be what to do at first base, where they will have to decide whether they want Ike Davis, Lucas Duda or another option to start. Alderson did not commit to an option Monday but acknowledged the team has a choice to make.

"I don't think we'll make a decision in a vacuum. We'll look at what our other options are. This is not about, well, player A vs. player B necessarily. It could end up that way," Alderson said. "And there are certain scenarios where both of those players, Davis and Duda, would be back with the organization. I just can't give you any sort of definitive answer."

The issue for the Mets is Duda and Davis are both left-handed
power hitters that don't have other natural positions to play. Having one on the roster reduces the need for the other as they both provide similar skills.

Davis had a rough year as his first half struggles led to his demotion. He ended up hitting .205 with nine homers and 33 RBIs. In 2012, while also struggling through the first half, he rebounded to hit 32 homers and drive in 90 runs. He didn't play against lefties after returning from the minors, and a strained right oblique ended his year early.

The Mets tried to make Duda an outfielder but that experiment didn't go well. He's more comfortable at first base and doesn't have the range the Mets want from their outfielders. He hit 15 homers and drove in 33 RBIs, but did have a .352 on-base percentage.

"I think we got to make sure if we go to spring training and Lucas and Ike are both there and they're both tearing it up, we got to make some decisions," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Alderson said on WFAN Radio that he's not sure if the team has all the information they need to make a decision, but there is a large enough sample size to judge both players. He said there are three possibilities: both guys are on the team, just one is, or neither make the roster.

The GM said with potential arbitration raises, the players could combined cost more than $4 million next season. He did mention that the team could look to the trade market or outside the organization.

"We're at a point where we need to try to make a decision," Alderson said on WFAN. "Another factor frankly will be the trade market. What's the market for a first baseman with potential and power and the potential to be better? Ike is not that old. Any way we're getting to the point where we need to make a decision on those two guys or going in a different direction entirely."