Lucas Duda has established himself as a power threat from the left side of the plate, and the New York Mets may soon be paying him like one. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets are discussing a contract extension with Duda, although Duda told Sherman the negotiations are "still in the works."
Duda, 29, will earn $4.5 million in 2015, and if a deal cannot get done before the start of the season, the negotiations will temporarily stop and resume again in the offseason. He will be arbitration eligible two more times before he becomes a free agent after 2017.
At that point, he will be 32, and Sherman adds it may be challenging for a first baseman to receive an extensive contract at that age. Considering his age, a deal between four and six years may make sense if it gives the Mets an extra year or two of control.
New York opted to stick with Duda over Ike Davis last season, and Duda responded. In 153 games, he posted a .253/.349/.481 batting line to complement 30 home runs and 92 RBIs. While he provided power in the middle of the Mets' lineup, Duda had difficulty against left-handed pitchers again in 2014, batting .180 and posting a .516 OPS against southpaws.
The Mets likely would like to keep Duda in the lineup consistently, however if they opt to create a platoon situation and play Michael Cuddyer or John Mayberry Jr. against lefties, signing Duda to a notably expensive deal may not prove to be valuable.
Although the Mets are confident in Duda's offensive ability, he has had a rough spring at the plate. After Saturday's contest with the Nationals, Duda's spring average increased to .171. But he was bothered by an oblique injury early in camp.
While nothing is close, the Mets are hoping to get a deal done. Duda's power may facilitate the process.