Going into this season it really looked like the Mets had first base figured out. Ike Davis had a strong spring training after finishing 2012 on a high note and everything really was going swimmingly. So when Ike forgot how to hit once the season started the Mets were left to find a replacement. If Lucas Duda and Josh Satin had not performed so well in Ike’s absence the Mets could resign themselves to giving Davis one more chance. Yet here we are with no idea who will be manning first base on Opening Day 2014.
Before Davis’s demotion in June he was hitting .161 with 66 strikeouts in 55 games. The struggling power-hitter had only 8 extra-base hits. It was simply not an option to keep him in the lineup by the time he was sent down on June 9.
When Lucas Duda took over at first base his production at the plate improved with his defense. From June 17 to 21 he went 5-for-14. He only stopped playing because of an incredibly ill-timed injury.
Josh Satin then stepped in at first base. He hit .382, had an OBP of .485, and 9 doubles in 55 at-bats.
When Ike Davis came back it was easy to understand why there was not a welcoming committee eagerly awaiting his arrival. After struggling in his first games back the Mets easily could’ve handed the job back to Satin and put Ike in the past. But they did no such thing. Ike continued to play, mostly against righties only, and he eventually started to hit. Before tonight’s game he was hitting .268 since his call-up. Even more telling is his .433 OBP since his return.
While it looks like everything has gone the Mets way since June, all this production has created another question for 2014.
Even if the Mets want to commit to Ike Davis they cannot really be sure he is the answer until next season actually starts. If Ike has an abysmal start for the third season in a row they can no longer look at is a fluke. But if the Mets commit to Ike Davis for at least the beginning of next season they have to make a move with either Lucas Duda or Josh Satin.
Another option would be trading Ike Davis after his stronger second half. In that case, the Mets would likely go into spring training with Duda, Satin, and Wilmer Flores battling for first base.
The first scenario could ultimately leave the Mets in a very tough situation. If Ike once again struggles out of the gate the Mets could be left with one less first base option if they move Duda or Satin, as well as an untradeable Davis. However, in the second scenario the Mets would be moving in a completely different direction, giving a new player a chance to succeed and keeping other options around.
The Mets first base situation could take anywhere between two months of spring training and three months of the regular season to be resolved.
Somehow even when players succeed it becomes a problem for the Mets.