The Red Sox latest ties to a free agent is Lucas Duda. The power hitter may be a solid acquisition for the 2018 season. Would he be a good fit?
The interest definitely makes sense for the club. Duda is most definitely a power threat at first base, which is something that was almost completely missing from the team in 2017. The lack of power has been a focus all offseason, but Duda is a new option to remedy the issue.
With the team being tied to outfielders like Giancarlo Stanton and JD Martinez, Duda is a guy who could be signed alongside either superstar.
Additionally, Duda has outfield experience if necessary so he has some slight variance of flexibility. He could also slide in as the designated hitter to put Hanley Ramirez in the field on certain days. While he may not be a superstar name like Martinez or Eric Hosmer, he presents himself as a solid improvement as a starter over Mitch Moreland.
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While Moreland’s batting average was a bit higher than Duda’s, Lucas crushed thirty home runs while splitting time between the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays. In hitter-friendly Fenway Park, Duda could improve on those numbers at a cost that would assumably be cheaper than Hosmer. A thirty home run player would be a nice addition to the middle of the lineup that could see other additions as well.
It is important to remember with Duda that he is by no means a player who has hit for average in his career, except for his 2011 season where he hit .292 yet lacked power with only ten long balls in 100 games. However, if he is able to use the green monster to hit the ball to the opposite field, he could definitely see an improvement over his weak .217 average in 2017.
What should be remembered is Duda will strike out a lot – which isn’t uncommon for power hitters. He may not hit .260, but I’d expect his average to improve from last season especially if he comes to Fenway.
Duda is most definitely an option worth considering for the Red Sox. He would be a solid addition to the club, but also if signed should not be looked at as the absolute solution to the Red Sox offensive issues. Duda should be looked at as a second signing behind the aforementioned Stanton or Martinez acquisitions. Hosmer is definitely still an option, but Duda might be a slight bargain option along with another signing instead of Hosmer.
He isn’t necessarily a star name but is definitely underrated as a first base option in the market this offseason. He would improve the team’s lackluster power numbers and help to propel the Red Sox deep into the postseason.