The Winter Meetings are wrapping up, and most general managers and front office personnel are already at the airport preparing to board flights home. That doesn’t mean that the wheeling and dealing is over, just that It’ll be done remotely starting today.
The Mets had hoped to resolve the Ike Davis situation before the meetings ended, but that didn’t happen. There was a flurry of activity yesterday that impacted the first base market, and the fate of Davis is probably close to being decided.
There are three teams who are openly seeking a first baseman – Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh.
The Brewers badly wanted to re-sign Corey Hart, but he chose Seattle instead. Tampa Bay has interest in free agent James Loney, but he’s apparently demanding three years, which he is unlikely to get. Tampa has also been rumored to be interested in Ike Davis. If Pittsburgh has interest in Davis, they’re keeping it close to the vest.
So, where do things stand?
Sandy Alderson and Brewers GM Doug Melvin have been trying to find common ground, and the Mets have reportedly been asking for pitcher Tyler Thornburg in exchange for Davis. Alderson and Melvin met again this morning, but Melvin noted afterwards that while a first base resolution was close, it wasn’t expected to be resolved today.
Aside from dangling Davis to the Brewers, the Mets should also be on the phone with Tampa Bay. It’s probably unlikely, but it would behoove the Mets to at least make the call and try to pry shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Rays.
From everything that’s being reported, Sandy Alderson is playing the Ike situation like he played the Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey situations. He’s asking for a strong return and holding firm. The other GM’s are hungry for a resolution, and Alderson is content to wait until he gets what he wants.
The above strategy has worked for Alderson in the past. He acquired Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran when everyone said it was impossible, acquired Travis d’Arnaud (who was said to be off limits) and Noah Syndergaard for R.A. Dickey, and he acquired Vic Black and Dilson Herrera for Marlon Byrd and John Buck in August.
Once the Ike domino falls, the Mets will likely turn their attention to upgrading shortstop.
The Mets have been linked to free agent Stephen Drew recently, but Sandy Alderson downplayed that interest earlier today – noting that if shortstop is upgraded, it will likely be via trade.
If the Mets are able to acquire a near major league ready or already established starting pitcher as part of an Ike Davis deal, they could theoretically turn around and call the Diamondbacks, who are looking for a starting pitcher and have a surplus at shortstop.
However, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Mets deal Davis and sign Drew. The Mets kept their intentions regarding Bartolo Colon secret, even as the local media was tearing them to shreds in a series of harsh columns.