According to ESPN New York, a source familiar with the deliberations says that New York Mets’ first baseman Ike Davis is a candidate to replace New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira, who withdrew today after a wrist strain, on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Anonymous/unnamed sources aren’t always the most reliable, and it’s more than possible that Ike isn’t selected for the spot. Davis, 26, rebounded from a miserable start in 2012 – he hit .158/.234/.273 over his first 201 PA and narrowly avoided a demotion to AAA Buffalo – to be one of the game’s most dominant first basemen down the stretch, hitting 27 home runs and posting a .913 OPS from June 9th through the end of the season. As most Mets fans know, Davis also possesses one of the best defensive skill sets at his position. He led National League first basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) as a rookie in 2010, and was off to a similar start in 2011 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, the effects of which have only recently subsided.
The potential addition of Davis to Team USA would make the WBC that much more exciting and nerve-wracking for Mets fans, as Davis would join third baseman David Wright and recently-departed-but-still-fan-favorite R.A. Dickey. The concern, of course, is that Wright and Davis represent the backbone of the Mets offense, so an injury to either of them could be devastating to the Mets’ chances this season. Getting the opportunity to face top pitching before the games count, however, could be valuable to the young slugger as he looks to get off to a faster start in 2013. And as the Flushing faithful know, when Davis gets going he’s one of the best power hitters in the majors today.
I’d expect this story to have a quick resolution as Team USA begins WBC play this Friday against Team Mexico at Chase Field. First pitch is scheduled for 9PM Eastern.