About 45 minutes ago, Ike Davis joined Mike Francesa on WFAN. Below is a near complete transcript of their exchange, during which Davis admitted feeling out of it at the beginning of last season, spoke about the potential of making the All-Star game at Citi Field, and expressed optimism about the 2013 season:
On how the offseason has been-
"It’s been very uneventful (compared to last year at this time)…this is good."
Comparing this offseason to last offseason-
"It went by a lot faster. I didn’t get 8 months off like I did last year. I didn’t lose all my muscle like I did before. I’m really excited for this year. Sep 27, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets player Ike Davis hits a home run in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports"
Francesa asked Davis to look back at last season in retrospect. Ike thought he was in pretty good shape. Francesa asked if the valley fever sapped Davis a lot more than he thought at the beginning of the season–
"It definitely did in spring training because I was just worn out. As far as everything, I just didn’t know how long I was out of baseball…as far as the ankle and stuff I lost a lot of mobility, just last year. But this year I’m hopping around…I can do jump rope again. I’m excited I got a lot of my athletic ability back. I’m excited for defense obviously."
On talk of potentially being sent to the minors last May, and the ensuing turnaround-
"Yeah, I started playing like myself in the second half. From most people that have seen me, they know that the first half isn’t usually how I play. But people go through weird things in their life and obstacles, and that was definitely one of them for me. But I stayed with it and the Mets stayed with me and I ended up turning it around a little bit."
On when he felt he regained is power-
"What’s funny is I hit five home runs in basically the first month, but I was hitting .179 which is not very good. Then I didn’t hit a home run for a little over a month it felt like. I was definitely a little lost, didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I was trying different stances, doing everything, and finally I found something that was comfortable. Honestly, when I felt like myself again, it was when we played the Yankees at their place (last June). I finally started feeling back to normal."
On whether he felt strong the rest of the season-
"Definitely. During this long season in baseball, you’re supposed to get tired towards the end. And I felt like I had more energy toward the end. My bat speed picked up at the end of the season…definitely there was something there. I obviously didn’t do my job in the first half of overcoming and adapting to whatever I was going through."
On whether the strong second half establishes that there are no more lingering questions-
"To tell you the truth, it just showed that I can hit for power. I’d like to get my average up a little bit. Last year was a weird year. A lot of things didn’t go my way and a lot of things ended up going my way. It was a roller coaster, but it just shows if I get my average up a little bit I can hit 100 RBI’s, hit 30 home runs a year. If I can just mix in some more hits…I’m excited, I’m healthy, I’m ready to go. I wanna see what I can do this year."
On whether he feels like one of the core guys as the team rebuilds-
"Definitely…one of the longer tenured here right now…I’m still a young player but I feel like I’m definitely, not one of the veterans, but definitely on the team. Still got a lot to prove and a lot of things to do in my career…but I’m definitely one of the older Mets."
On questions surrounding the team and the direction of the franchise-
"I’m excited. I think we’re really close, especially with the young pitching coming up. There’s obviously gotta be some key signings and little pieces added to make the team go from decent to good to great. I have faith in Sandy [Alderson] and I think he’s doing a great job. Signing David [Wright] to a long term deal was huge. I think it sent a message to the rest of the league saying that the Mets are pushing to win."
On Zack Wheeler–
"I can’t wait to see Wheeler this year in spring. I haven’t seen him pitch. I heard it’s nasty so I want to get in the box and see what happens."
On Lucas Duda–
"I said it last year and I really believe it. I think Duda can be an All-Star. He’s got so much talent. You should see this guy in BP and just his work ethic. Honestly, if he just relaxes a little more and there’s a little less pressure on him I think he can just flourish."
On the potential of adding Michael Bourn (which was unsolicited)-
"Offseason’s not over yet…I think it’d be sweet to get Bourn in, wouldn’t that be sweet?"
If he set a goal, what would he envision for himself (as a great year)-
"Anywhere from 25 to 35 [home runs] is a good goal for me. I want to hit over 30 every year…but I would like to get my average above .260 (laughs). I’d like to hit anywhere from the .260’s to .300 – that’d be great. And obviously that 100 RBI mark."
On the current state of the team-
"I think we have a pretty good squad. Last year we showed what we could do when our pitching is healthy, we just got some injuries in the second half and started losing games. Before you knew it, we were out of the race."
On hitting the ball to the opposite field-
"If you watched the second half, I started hitting home runs to left field. I’ve been working on it. If you’ve watched my short career, I hit a lot of home runs to center field. I’m a gap to gap hitter, I’m not a pure pull. I don’t hit as many down the left field line as I do the right field line."
On whether he has tried to stay away from hitting home runs to left field-
"Prior, my rookie year, yeah. I just couldn’t hit it out. Now I can, so it doesn’t really matter. I’m just trying to hit the ball up the middle as hard as I can."
On how much friendlier the Citi Field dimensions were last year-
"It made a world of difference. Just taking the height of the fence down in left field, because It was like a green monster but it was also 400 feet away. It was kind of unfair for hitters. Now it’s not a hitters park by any means, but it’s definitely more fair."
On his home/road splits and whether they’re in his head-
"Not really, I just get hot..and when I got hot it just happened to be on the road. Toward the end of the year I started playing better, hitting more home runs at home, but I also started hitting more home runs period. For some reason we played a lot of home games in the first half and more road games in the second half, so I had better numbers on the road than I did at home."
On the 2nd half of 2012, and whether teams got a better book on some of the team’s offensive guys-
"It was tough…David [Wright] hit a little slide and he was carrying us basically the whole year. When he hits a little skid, it’s tough for us to score runs. Everyone just kinda cooled down. We didn’t score that many runs in the first half…the pitching held other teams to about the same runs as us. When it rains it pours…that’s basically what happened."
On potentially making his first All-Star appearance at Citi Field-
"If I have a good year you never know. My second year when I got hurt, I probably had a good chance if I’d have stayed healthy. It would be really cool (making it in his own building). That’s something that would be amazing. First time making the All-Star team and being at your home stadium."
On his prediction last year that the Mets were going to be a lot better than people thought-
"First of all, 74 is a lot more than you thought we were gonna win. People thought we were gonna lose 100 games. I said we’d be better than you thought."
On whether he believes the Mets will finish above .500 in 2013-
"Yeah, I believe so…I think we can. If people start getting hurt and stuff it’s tough to do that. But I think if we stay healthy and people have the seasons they’re supposed to have, I think we can eclipse 81 for sure."
On one specific goal he has for 2013-
"Here’s a weird goal: It’s 100 walks."
…I was a bit surprised that Francesa didn’t bring up the odd story that popped up late last summer…the one regarding the Mets’ dissatisfaction with Davis’ nightlife habits. The story seemed absurd at the time, so I’m glad it appears to be staying in the past.
For the first few months of 2012, Davis couldn’t hit a thing. I can’t remember a Met with the potential Davis has going through a prolonged slump nearly that bad. It was painful to watch. While hearing Davis speak today, he seemed to confirm that not only was he feeling out of it health wise at the beginning of the season, but that he was also working his way back into playing shape.
Davis had a very good rookie campaign in 2010, and was on fire in 2011 before his season was cut short due to a freak ankle injury. He rebounded from a horrific start in 2012 and wound up eclipsing 30 home runs and 90 RBI’s. If he’s able to put a full season together, Davis has the potential to be one of the better first basemen in the game. Let’s hope 2013 is Ike’s year.