Jan 20

Factors Suggest Ike Davis Will Start At First Over Lucas Duda

Recent developments with Lucas Duda indicate the New York Mets are probably more likely to go with Ike Davis at first base.

Duda, who hit 15 homers with 33 RBI last season, had been earmarked for the job, especially coupled with the Mets’ desire to trade Davis. General manager Sandy Alderson spoke openly this winter about trading Davis.

However, with the Mets unable to trade Davis, and with them offering arbitration, it became obvious the underachieving first baseman wasn’t going anywhere.

I believe Davis will prevail for the following reasons:

* It has become increasingly difficult to trade him, especially since projected trading partner Milwaukee signed both Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay.

* Duda filed for $1.9 million and the Mets countered with $1.35 million. Meanwhile, Davis and the Mets settled for $3.5 million. Based on the salary, it is more likely the Mets start Davis. However, Duda’s salary, whatever an arbitrator decides, would be high for a minor league player.

* If the Mets decided to keep both on the Opening Day roster, as Alderson suggested is possible, and with Duda expected to get outfield time during spring training, logically Davis would go to first.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Jan 16

Expanded Instant Replay Is Approved By Owners

A new era in baseball is upon us after the owners today unanimously approved expansion of instant replay at their meetings in Arizona. Considering the constant criticism of umpiring today, I’m all for this decision.

It might have to be modified somewhat in the number of challenges allowed to managers, or even if the decision to review might come from an umpire in the replay center, similar to how replays are automatically reviewed in the NFL after scoring plays and turnovers.

Currently managers are allowed only one challenge through the first six innings. After that, the umpires would initiate the challenges. If the umpires can challenge after the seventh inning, then why not before then?

Of all sports, baseball might be the most conducive to replay because much of the action is located at fixed positions, such as the bases and plate, the outfield fences and foul lines.

In addition to home runs, replay will be applied to:
• Ground-rule double

• Fan interference

• Stadium boundary calls

• Force play*

• Tag play

• Fair/foul in outfield only

• Trap play in outfield only

• Batter hit by pitch

• Timing play

• Touching a base (requires appeal)

• Passing runners

• Record keeping

What won’t be reviewable is the “neighborhood plays’’ at second base, which really would be the easiest to review.

MLB executive and former manager Tony LaRussa, who helped design the new system, estimated up to 90 percent of potential calls are reviewable.

“We’re really [targeting] the dramatic miss,’’ La Russa said, “not all misses.’’

One of the potential flaws in this system is managers could use challenges as a way to stall for time to allow a reliever to get ready in the bullpen. However, managers have found ways to stall for over 100 years, so perhaps that’s not such a big deal in the long run.

What I’m not crazy about is limiting the number of challenges, because after all, there could be more than one play that is close enough to be reviewed.

Given that, I wouldn’t mind having the umpire crew in the replay center in New York, buzzing the crew chief to say a play is under review.

However, this is better than what we’ve had in recent years.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

 

Jan 12

How Can Ike Davis Not Be Upset By The Trade Talk?

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently told MLB.com Ike Davis was not annoyed by the persistent trade talk since the end of the season.

“I don’t think any of this talk over the winter has bothered him,’’ Alderson said. “I think he’s anxious to get to spring training and show what he can do.’’

I can buy him being anxious for spring training, if for no other reason, than to prove he can play so he can get out of Dodge.

If you’re the Mets and think Davis isn’t bothered by the talk of him being a bust and of him being traded, then do you really want him back? If you’re the Mets, you don’t want to hear Davis is in a good mood as Alderson said, but royally hacked off.

What Alderson said and what Davis told the New York Daily News are two different things. Davis sounded hurt, which should be construed as a positive.

“I want to go back,’’ Davis said. “I want to have another chance. I want to win with the Mets. I don’t want to leave on this kind of note.’’

But, he seems resigned to the possibility of him leaving.

I’m no longer thinking the Mets will work a deal with Milwaukee, or to anybody else for that matter, before the start of spring training, which is little more than a month away.

If the Mets are to trade Davis, it will be closer to the start of the season, after teams have gone through spring training and know what holes they have in their line-up.

Until then, Davis isn’t going anywhere, at least not for the asking price for those on the line with Alderson.

“We’re not going to move Ike just to move Ike – or any other player for that matter,’’ Alderson said. “This is a trade market, not a yard sale, and right now we’re perfectly happy to go into spring training with Davis and [Lucas] Duda both on the team.’’

Alderson insists the Mets aren’t actively talking with anybody about Davis, and such discussions would come suddenly; say after an injury strikes down somebody else’s first baseman.

While the Brewers have been most prominently mentioned, the call could come from anywhere.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Jan 05

Mets Have Catching Concerns

Of all the New York Mets’ questions entering spring training, perhaps the most intriguing is at catcher, where an inexperienced Travis d’Arnaud is the starter without a veteran mentor.

Last year, he had John Buck. However, when d’Arnaud was injured, the job became Buck’s with young Anthony Recker as back-up. By the time d’Arnaud was ready for Citi Field, Buck was heading for Pittsburgh.

The Mets could use Buck back this year as a caddy for d’Arnaud, but manager Terry Collins said he’s comfortable with Recker as the back-up. But, it’s January, not July and the Mets aren’t riding a six-game losing streak and heading to the West Coast.

Truth is the window is small for both d’Arnaud and Recker, and we don’t know what either could do with 550 at-bats over a full season. That’s a major concern, as is both their abilities to call a game and settle a pitching staff.

Mets pitchers last year had a comfort dealing with Buck they didn’t have time to develop with d’Arnaud. Mets pitchers did have some sense of comfort with Recker, who produced more at the plate than d’Arnaud.

Teams have carried weak-hitting catchers before, but usually they had enough offense elsewhere to compensate. This Mets’ team doesn’t have that luxury.

Of the two, for a young catcher, defense and handling a staff take precedence over offense, but as a young player it is only natural d’Arnaud will fret if he’s not hitting.

The problem is the Mets don’t know what they have in d’Arnaud, either at the plate or behind it. Ditto for Recker. Those are significant concerns.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 30

Pirates Acquire 1B Chris McGuiness

DAVIS: Nothing moving.

The Mets have unsuccessfully tried to get pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez from Orioles for Ike Davis, but are still talking to the Brewers, Orioles and Pirates, reported Mike Puma of the New York Post before the weekend.

However, scratch the Pirates off that list. The Bucs announced that have acquired first baseman Chris McGuiness from the Texas Rangers for righthander Miles Mikolas.

McGuiness, 25, batted .246 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI in 104 Triple-A games last season, and it looks like he’ll likely be the left-handed bat they were looking for to platoon with Gaby Sanchez.

Sandy Alderson continues to seek a top pitching prospect for Davis and is bent on holding out for one even if it means keeping him. My guess is that if Davis becomes the power hitter he’s been projected to be for another team, Alderson wants to make sure he gets a top arm out of it.

Seeing Davis become a 35+ home run hitter elsewhere would definitely sting. But will a team deal a top prospect on a hunch that Ike could be that guy? That’s the dilemma.

About two weeks ago it was reported that the Mets were seeking O’s top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy for Davis. On Friday, the Baltimore Sun reported that the Orioles would need to be “blown away” to deal Eduardo Rodriguez.

The Ike Davis rumors first caught fire at the GM Meetings and then again at the Winter Meetings when Sandy Alderson had several conversations with Brewers GM Doug Melvin in a trade for their young pitching prospect, Tyler Thornburg. However, those discussions fizzled out when the Brewers balked at the suggestion.

During the Mets Holiday Party, Alderson did confirm that he was still talking with a number of teams, but said “I can’t say anything will happen.”