First baseman Lucas Duda has spent the last eight seasons becoming one of the most popular players in the New York Mets' clubhouse.
Therefore, when it was revealed on Thursday that he had been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor-league pitcher Drew Smith, the Mets' players took the news hard.
In particular, outfielder Curtis Granderson - who runs the popular Instagram account "wefollowlucasduda" - was sad to see his longtime teammate go, doing everything he could to make sure Duda couldn't leave.
As you can see in the post below, Granderson literally won't let Duda leave the locker room, hanging on to the first baseman's leg as he tries to walk away:
All joking aside, though, the Mets were quite sad to see Duda go, as he seems like a genuinely nice guy and great teammate, even as the Mets have struggled this year.
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Duda was informed of the trade before Thursday night's game against the San Diego Padres and left to join his new teammates before the Mets' game started. On his way out, he told MLB.com that he will always remember his time in New York fondly:
"The guys here, I've grown pretty close to," Duda said, still wearing a gray Mets T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. "It's a first-class organization that treated me extremely well. I was very proud to be a New York Met, and I'm going to be very proud to be a Tampa Bay Ray."
Duda will join a team that is in contention for a playoff spot in the American League, as the Rays currently trail the Kansas City Royals by only 1.5 games in the race for the second wildcard spot and have a 53-50 overall record.
Mets manager Terry Collins thanked Duda for his years of service, praising him for being a big part of the deep playoff runs the Mets have made in recent years:
"He's been a tremendous part of this team for a long time," Collins said. "We wish him all the best, and thank him for everything he's done here in New York. He's very responsible for our success in 2015 and 2016. … I talked to him and told him exactly that, and told him what a pleasure it's been to watch him."
The Mets will now try to find someone else to play first base and will potentially call up Dominic Smith from the minors to replace Duda, who was hitting .246 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI prior to Thursday's trade.
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