Deep down, I’m still in Ike Davis‘ corner, but the reality is that he’s complicating numerous issues. Of course, there is the unanswered question of who plays first base. He also poses logistical problems for Terry Collins, challenges the organizational mindset, and creates a logjam of back-up outfielders.
If Ike Davis starts the season at first base, Terry Collins will still potentially be faced with hiding him in the lineup – as he did last season – by batting him 6th or 7th until, if and when, he regains a productive swing. The alternative is to bat Ike 4th or 5th and hope for the best.
The Mets will no doubt continue pursuing a trade. It’s not my line, but it was recently said that you can’t trade a guy in a boot. I agree, but also feel that Flushing is no longer big enough for both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. Where first base is concerned, they are one and the same, which means we have a redundant situation.
In the club’s defense, despite their off-season attempts to trade him, Ike is still here because the organization would have been lambasted had they given up on him while obtaining close to nothing in return. That was out of the question, so offering Davis arbitration was unavoidable.
At this point, however, I do not think the club can idly stand by again if Ike Davis struggles for another three months, or beyond this year’s trade deadline. That was a luxury previously afforded to Ike due to an ongoing rebuilding process. That’s hopefully past practice, and should no longer be the case for a club attempting to elevate their standing.
Some time ago, the current general manager told us 2014 would inaugurate change. I’m holding him and the organization to that. Therefore, the 2014 season should indeed usher in new standards and expectations. They should be thinking, and operating quite differently, and therefore looking to resolve this matter with conviction.
In part, that means the time for coddling players is over – rebuilding time is over. The way I see it, Ike should be limited to three options – either seize the first base job and start performing like a franchise player, accept a demotion to the minors, or become a former Met.
Then there’s the case of Lucas Duda.
Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, Anthony Young, and Juan Lagares own the top four outfield spots, so, adding Lucas Duda to the mix all but ensures Matt den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andrew Brown will start the season at Las Vegas.
Even a scenario wherein Duda starts the season at first, with Ike Davis on the disabled list, only buys the Mets a short time before they are forced to revisit the situation. It is no secret that the Mets are leaning towards Lucas Duda at first base anyway, but are being cornered into a situation where they need to play Ike Davis.
Once he takes off his boot, and gets back to playing baseball again, for better or worse, Ike Davis will be in full control of what happens next. This is effectively his last chance to turn everything around. He’ll need to act quickly. Anything short of a good start will surely invite more criticism, and hasten corrective action.