On Ike Davis, Jeurys Familia, & Wilmer Flores

By Danny Abriano

Here are some of today’s pertinent news items…

Ike Davis strains oblique, season likely over.  What now?

During last night’s blowout win in Washington DC, Ike Davis injured his right oblique while swinging – an injury that will likely end his season.

Aug 30, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis (29) is congratulated by teammates after the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After a 2012 campaign that saw Davis struggle mightily in the first half before turning it on in the second half, Davis had another rough campaign in 2013.  His inability to hit got him demoted to AAA Las Vegas in June for a stint meant to clear his head and fix his swing, and he had been much better since returning to the majors on July 5th.

Davis hit .242 with a .382 OBP in July, and hit .290 with a .468 OBP in August.  While it’s understandable that fans and Mets decision makers may be wary of Davis’ inconsistencies, giving up on him at this point would be a mistake.

Davis is arbitration eligible after the season, and will likely get a modest raise from the $3.1 million he made this season.  With no clear alternative at first base and with tons of money coming off the books after the season, tendering Davis a contract is a worthy gamble.

The other options? Non tendering him (and losing him for nothing), or trading him while his value his low.  Davis is a polarizing figure, but he’s just 26 years old, and has shown the ability to be a plus defender with immense power.  Now is not the time to give up on him.

Jeurys Familia returns to game action:

This morning in St. Lucie, right handed reliever Jeurys Familia returned to game action for the first time since undergoing minor elbow surgery on June 5th.  Familia tossed a scoreless frame, and is on track to return to the Mets before the end of the season.

The 23 year old Familia was starting to come into his own before the elbow injury interrupted his season.

He has some of the best stuff of anyone on the club, and should be in the mix for a spot in the back end of the bullpen come 2014.  Along with Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Gonzalez Germen, and Josh Edgin, the Mets have the makings of a young, inexpensive, and highly effective bullpen for 2014 and beyond.

What to do with Wilmer Flores?

Wilmer Flores, who made his big league debut on August 6th, has been riding the pine a lot lately.  The 22 year old has been left out of the lineup for three of the team’s last seven games, and it’s unclear what his role will be for the remainder of the season.

After Ike Davis injured himself last night, Terry Collins noted that Lucas Duda would likely get the bulk of the playing time at first base.  With David Wright set to return from his hamstring strain shortly, where does that leave Flores?

Although some fans continue to clamor for Flores to play shortstop, that simply isn’t happening.  He was given one start at second base, and didn’t look particularly good.  Third base will be occupied once Wright returns.  So, Flores’ only clear spot is first base (where he played a bit while with AAA Las Vegas).

I understand that the team needs to evaluate Lucas Duda, but evaluating Flores should also be a priority.  Having Duda and Flores split time at first base seems logical, as the team needs to make a decision on what to do with both before 2014.  The Mets could carry Flores as a bench player, but his lack of versatility makes that unlikely.

It’s highly probable that Flores’ future will either be at first base for the Mets or as a third baseman or DH for another club.  In order for the Mets to properly evaluate him and come to a decision, Flores needs to play – not remain nailed to the bench.

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