With Lucas Duda expected to miss the next four-to-six weeks with a stress fracture in his back, the New York Mets lineup has been dealt a huge blow. They are now in a position where they have to replace a player who can hit 30 home runs with unappealing in-house options such as Eric Campbell, Ty Kelly, and the also-injured Wilmer Flores, who is still learning the position of first base himself. While trades before June rarely get done in baseball, there are possibilities available if they did decide to explore their options.

To fill a power role, they could look to Milwaukee or Colorado and inquire about Chris Carter or Mark Reynolds, both of whom have gotten off to good starts for their respective clubs. Carter has 13 home runs this season, while Reynolds is hitting .325 thus far and did hit at least 20 home runs in seven consecutive seasons before last year. Another option could be Jay Bruce of Cincinnati, who the Mets tried to acquire before the deadline last season, and might be easily had now at a much cheaper price. The caveat for all three is that they are all known for being very streaky and frequently guys who can’t do much if the ball isn’t leaving the park for them. While they do hit bombs in bunches, it’s always possible they make fans forget just how streaky Duda has been over his career, which would be quite a feat.

If the team decided to go the route of versatile players who could find their way into the lineup at other positions when Duda returned, they could look to Luis Valbuena of Houston, Yangervis Solarte of San Diego or former Met Kelly Johnson, now of Atlanta, to fill the gap. Valbuena has been a third baseman for the majority of the last few years, and is a streaky as the former group of players, but a swap of Alejando DeAza for Valbuena could make sense for both clubs given their similar salaries and current areas of need. Solarte’s versatility would be a valued asset for the Mets now given how their depth has been exposed recently, and would make Campbell obsolete given his offensive struggles, but if the Padres asked for a top prospect, it might not be worth it, while Johnson fit in well last season, and might be had for a song now given Atlanta’s putrid start to the season.

The player to watch right now is James Loney, who is in Triple-A for the Padres and has the right to leave if offered a major league job, after he was released by Tampa Bay in the offseason despite being owed $8 million in the last year of a three-year deal. He’s always been a quality defender, and while not a power hitter, he is a natural contact hitter who would add a degree of balance to a team that has been almost entirely unable to do anything if the ball doesn’t go out of the park. While the Mets have not reached out yet, his representatives might make the first move soon to see if there is interest, and given how little it would cost, he might make the most sense while Duda is healing.

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