With baseball’s annual Winter Meeting upon us — which takes place December 9-12th in Orlando, Florida — fans should expect more active player movement throughout the league. One of the GMs that is expected to be active in negotiations with both agents of free-agents and other general managers regarding possible trades is Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Even more so with the reports that the Mets’ front office is said to be suffering from “sticker shock” when it comes to the long-terms deals that teams are agreeing to with free-agents of this current open market. One player that has been rumored to be on the trade block is Mets first baseman Ike Davis. But is trading the 26-year-old slugger truly in the best interest of the Mets organization?
Coming off a very disappointing 2013 season, as a fan, it’s easy to say that Davis needs to be dealt in order to improve the overall offense of this current Mets’ lineup. After all, Davis batted a poor .205 batting average while hitting only nine homers with 33 RBIs. Going into last season, it was widely expected for Davis to build off his strong 2012 second-half season. Through the final 75 games of the 2012 season, Davis swatted 20 homers, which was second-most only behind Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who went deep 23 times in the same timeframe. Despite hitting .227, Davis ended his 2012 campaign with a total of 32 homers while driving in 90 RBIs. Davis’ poor play this past season resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas in early June after the Mets were swept by the Miami Marlins for a second straight series. Regardless of Davis’ 2013 struggles, there’s reasons to believe Davis can potentially still turn around his recent slump.
For starters, Davis has had a track record of success. If the Mets dealt this offseason, Lucas Duda will most likely receive playing time at first base, in a platoon situation with Josh Satin, pending on whether Alderson is able to acquire another first base option elsewhere this offseason. Duda on the other hand, has not shown the same success Davis has in his short Major League career. To be completely honest, I am not that high on Lucas Duda as I once was. I am not saying Duda can’t flourish as an everyday player, if given another chance, but if I had to bet on it, I wouldn’t be confident in that happening. Davis’ 2012 second-half campaign teased fans of the middle-of-lineup power bat everyone within the organization had envisioned Davis to be. Yet, as we prepare for the 2014 season, it is still unclear what type of player the Mets have in Davis.
Davis is no stranger to the trade rumors and acknowledges that his time with the Mets may very well be reaching it’s conclusion, but hopes that is not the case. “Honestly, i’ve loved my time with the Mets,” stated Davis during a telephone interview last week with MLB.com. “I’m still a Met right now and I don’t want to get traded. I can’t really blame anyone else but myself. I played terrible, that’s basically the bottom line of what happened. I’m way better than I showed.”
If Alderson decides to deal Davis, the one fear us Mets fans have is the possibly of Davis returning to form elsewhere, becoming the 30+ homer, 100 RBI guy the Mets potentially thought they had when the organization selected Davis in the first-round — 18th overall — of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. One example that comes to mind is Orioles All-Star Chris Davis, who was originally drafted by the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Angels — but did not sign — in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Nevertheless, the Texas Rangers drafted Davis in the fifth round — 148th overall — of the 2006 draft. According to Baseballamerica.com, by the end of the 2007 season, the Rangers had Davis ranked as the second-best prospect in their organization. In four seasons as a member of the Rangers, Davis compiled a .248 batting while driving in 42 homers and 124 RBIs — in limited playing time — before being dealt — along with pitcher Tommy Hunter — at the 2011 non-waiver deadline to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for reliever Koji Uehara. Uehara went on to pitch so terribly for the Rangers in the American League Championship Series — against the Detroit Tigers — the organization decided to leave him off their World Series roster that year. After the 2012 season, Uehara went on to sign with the Boston Red Sox as a free-agent. Uehara went to resurrect his career, being a vital piece of the Red Sox Championship run, netting ALCS MVP honors against the Tigers. In the meantime, Davis went on to have a breakout year for the Orioles, hitting a league-leading 53 homers with 153 RBIs. To be fair, the Rangers needed to bolster their bullpen, and Uehara, at the time was a very solid reliever for the Orioles. However, it’s hard to justify that trade, given the results.
When it’s all said and done, do I believe Alderson will trade Davis this offseason? Yes, I do believe it will happen. And for fair reason, Davis has not lived up to expectations, so I do understand the overall goal is to improve this team. Alderson has already stated there’s a very good chance that only one player — Davis or Duda — will be with the Mets next season. Because of the fact Davis has a track record of success, I expect he will get traded, as he holds more trade value than Duda. The question that I am left wondering is if it’s in the Mets’ best interest to deal Davis coming off a poor 2013 performance. While a part of me is understanding if Alderson parts with Davis, I can see Davis reaching his full potential as a professional baseball player…. Just not as a member of the Mets.