ESPN reported this morning the Mets are considering trading Ike Davis. It seems plausible explanation for why Lucas Duda has been getting more playing time at first base. Adam Rubin wrote it, so I trust the reporting.
But, isn’t Davis one of the bright young talents the Mets are building around? Isn’t he one of the good products from what has been regarded as a weak farm system?
Yes, but there’s more to the story than just his age and power potential, which could reach 30 homers this season despite a slow start. He is on pace for 30 homers, but also on track to hit .223 with 142 strikeouts and only 60 walks.
Davis said he’d like to remain a Met, but understands the business side of the sport.
“If they trade me, they trade me – I can’t do anything about it,” Davis told reporters. “I have to do my job where I am at.”
Trading Davis, despite his power potential, makes sense on several fronts:
1) The Mets have few chips they could spend and definitely are reluctant to tamper with their young pitching. Davis, with his potential and low salary, is a player who could bring in several pieces in return. In considering the available Mets that could be dealt, David Wright might bring back more, but his salary would be a deterrent. Davis is a player who could be tied up in a long term deal.
As being one of their few tradable chips is important considering GM Sandy Alderson has already spoke of keeping basically the same payroll next season, which would preclude spending lavishly in the free agent market.
2) While Davis is their frontline first baseman, the Mets have depth in the position with Duda. There’s absolutely no outfield depth and they would struggle to replace Wright or Ruben Tejada.
3) Reportedly, Davis hasn’t taken to being coached well and has a weakness for the night life. If this is true, the Mets wouldn’t want him around to influence the other young talent. Reports like this could work either way in the Mets’ attempts to deal Davis. First, Davis could be viewed as a problem, although there’s been no complaints about him in the clubhouse. Secondly, the perception could be that the Mets have been so poor in recent years that a player not being coachable could be interpreted as not that big a deal.
Davis debuted with a flair, but sustained a severe ankle injury last year and was struck by a virus this spring. He might be totally frustrated and resentful of how the Mets handled the ankle injury and this could explain any reluctance with the coaching. On the flip side, Terry Collins opted to keep him earlier this year when he was struggling instead of sending him to the minor leagues. That action must be regarded as the Mets having confidence in Davis, and that can’t be underestimated.
I often wonder what became of Davis’ approach at the plate. He arrived with a reputation of being patient, working the count and taking the outside pitch to left field. He would wait for his pitch to crush. However, we’ve been seeing less of that lately and more of him over swinging and trying to pull.
What Davis hasn’t realized, or it hasn’t been told to him – although I doubt that – is if Davis was more patient and went the other way, that he has the power to hit it out to left. Also, adding 40 points to his average would translate into more homers.
I can see Davis becoming a star player, but I can also see him evolving into an all-or-nothing slugger. If the Mets can swing a deal and fill a couple of holes elsewhere, then go for it.