Today it has been reported that the Mets are going to keep first baseman Ike Davis on the team until spring training, despite their efforts all off-season to trade him.
In my opinion this is good decision by general manager Sandy Alderson. If the market is not their for Davis there is absolutely no sense in giving him away. Ike will be 27 years old at the onset of the 2014 season, which means he is at the point in his career where he should be “putting it all together” as a pro, but it seems that he has been regressing over the past couple of seasons.
Davis became a fan favorite amongst Mets fans as a rookie in 2010, a season that saw him finish 7th in rookie of the year voting, putting up a .264 average, 19 homers, 53 extra base hits, and 71 runs batted in. After missing much of his sophomore season with an injury and being diagnosed with Valley Fever the following spring Davis has not had the career arc that his early promise would have suggested.
Despite that being the case I would not want Alderson parting ways with Davis for nothing. You can not give away a 27 year old with a 30+ homer season on his resume (that’s exactly what got Chris Young $7 million from the Mets this year) Davis’ power does give him value which is why cutting ties with him would be a mistake unless you recouped something of value in return. This is especially true given that the Mets do not have a natural in-house replacement for Davis on the horizon. I am not sold on Lucas Duda as the answer at first base and the team has not imported enough power in free agency to justify moving Daniel Murphy to that position.
In my opinion the production the Mets get from the first base position will be the difference between a successful season and a failure. Davis has the ability to be a game changing, middle of the lineup, bat; something that very few people on the current roster can boast. My solution would be to try and import a low cost veteran (think of the Marlon Byrd signing from last year, except a first baseman) to push Davis for the starting role, or at least spell him if he fails to be productive. Maybe having even the stability of knowing that he will be a Met to start the Spring can propel Ike to a strong start. As a Mets fan, here’s hoping.
(all stats via baseball-reference.com)