The sell off has begun. The New York Mets kicked off their fire sale this afternoon, shipping first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for right handed pitching prospect Drew Smith, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. This move makes sense as the two teams had been linked in recent days, with the Rays looking at Duda as a potential offensive upgrade as they try to snag a wild card spot in the competitive American League. Duda, who was set to become a free agent at the end of the season, is batting .246 with 17 homers and 37 RBI’s on the season. The move also opens up first base for Dominic Smith, the Mets’ second best prospect, who is batting .337 with 15 homers and 68 RBI’s for Triple-A Las Vegas.
In terms of a return, the consensus seems to be that the Mets did well to get Smith, who MLB.com ranked as the Rays’ 30th best prospect. Smith has pitched well at three levels this season, going 1-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 31 appearances, and projects to be a potential late inning reliever. Check out some of these tweets talking up Smith:
Given that the only other team in the market for Duda’s services appeared to be the Yankees, Sandy Alderson did pretty well getting a prospect who could bolster the Mets’ shaky bullpen. Smith has the potential to be a strikeout machine in the late innings, and if the Mets catch lightning in a bottle here it could be a huge shot in the arm for their bullpen. The Mets figure to be active in the next couple of days with Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Rene Rivera among the names drawing interest from other teams.