One of the hidden storylines for the New York Mets Saturday was Ike Davis’ batting average breaking .200 heading north.
The Mets stuck with Davis longer than they should have before demoting him July 9, but it was because a slow 2012 first half culminated with a late surge that saw him finish with 32 homers, and that’s production GM Sandy Alderson couldn’t ignore.
“He showed what he is capable of last year in the second half,’’ Alderson said in the weeks prior to the demotion in explaining why Davis was still taking his three empty swings and heading back to the dugout. “We have to keep that in the back of our mind.’’
Davis had two hits against Arizona to raise his average to .203, but also drew two walks. Not enough to warrant a contract extension, but consider Davis is hitting .300 since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas compared to .161 before the desert and you can see the difference.
Davis’ pre-Vegas strikeouts-to-walks ratio was 66-to-19; it is now, brace yourself, 22-to-25. He’s still not hitting for power with one homer and nine RBI, but first things first. His patience and pitch selection is far better, and if it continues, the run production will increase.
Davis has not done enough to warrant the Mets’ tendering him a contract this winter, but a strong finish would give Alderson reason to think, instead of looking at Josh Satin or Wilmer Flores or somebody in the free-agent market.
The Mets claim they’ll have more resources this winter, but they still are a franchise feeling financial strain. They aren’t about to throw money away, and that would include bringing back Davis at his current run-production.
Davis is making $3.1 million this season, which is chump change for a 30-homer bat. He has six homers and 25 RBI, which isn’t enough to keep him, but 15 homers and 50 RBI is definitely doable. That could change everything.
Currently working against him is a horrid first half that has him in a platoon with Satin, and with David Wright on the disabled list, pitchers can work around Davis.
As far as next year, Satin will be cheaper, but he doesn’t have Davis’ power. Perhaps he’s a right-handed Daniel Murphy at best.
Power is not expected from Satin and irrelevant now from Davis, what matters is having an idea and a light has switched on above his head.
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