The Mets will once again avoid any arbitration hearings, agreeing to a one-year deal with Lucas Duda, the club announced Wednesday. In reaching an agreement with Duda, the Mets have now settled with all seven of their arbitration-eligible players.
Duda agreed to a contract worth $1,637,500. The salary agreement falls slightly closer to the $1.9 million Duda requested than it does to $1.35 million offer made by the Mets when the two sides exchanged figures on Friday.
Though it seemed rather unlikely entering the offseason, Duda is now expected to compete with Ike Davis for the Mets' first-base job. After the Mets were unable to trade Davis over the winter -- and also added outfielders Curtis Granderson and Chris Young -- Duda will be forced to battle Davis for reps on the right side of the field.
Duda primarily has played the outfield during his four seasons with the Mets, including last season, when he made 58 starts in left field. All of those, however, came prior to June 17, when he made his first start of the year at first base. Each of Duda's final 34 appearances came at first base, including 27 September starts in the infield.
With the additions of Granderson and Young, it seems unlikely that Duda will return to the outfield in 2014. Instead, he will try to win the starting first-base job over Davis, with the position battle's second-place finisher either heading to the bench or the Minors if the Mets are unable to find him a new home.
The Mets have still gone to trial just one time in the past 22 years, the lone time being with Oliver Perez in 2008.