The Ike Davis saga took another dramatic turn on Sunday as Mike Puma of the New York Post reported Davis had an injured oblique through most of the 2013 season but chose not to report it to Mets management.
Feb 20, 2014; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis (29) in spring training action at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Davis was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas in early June but was promoted back to New York a month later. Despite improved numbers at the plate, Ike’s power was still M.I.A., and his season ended when his oblique finally gave out at the end of August.
In Davis’ own words:
"I thought about saying, ‘Hey, I would like to take a couple of weeks off, because I’m not feeling great.’ But then the timing was bad and it was when I was getting sent down. It would have been a great time, but it looks bad and I just can’t say that."
The Post learned of the latest Davis dilemma through an industry source and was apparently the first source of any kind to alert Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins to the situation.
This stinks, no matter how you slice it. Kinder critics would say Davis was valiant but inept in his attempts to play through injury, which hurt the team. Less sympathetic voices would say Ike put himself before the team, both during the season by insisting on playing hurt.
Either way, Ike’s covering up the extent of his injury ultimately hurt a Mets team that was bleeding runs in 2013. This revelation certainly does not help Davis’ image with the team and its fans; Ike claims he chose not to make it look like he was “whining about how [he stunk],” but by talking about it now he makes it look just so.
Aug 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis (29) reacts in front of home plate umpire Angel Hernandez (55) after striking out to end the seventh inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
One commenter on the Amazin’ Avenue boards said this flies in the face of R.A. Dickey’s advice to “never reveal an injury.” The difference in this case is that when Dickey pitched through a torn stomach muscle through much of his 2012 season, he won the Cy Young Award.
When Davis played through a bad oblique, he hit just .205 with nine home runs. Maybe if Ike had been hitting .380 when he first noticed the injury, as he muses in the Post, he would have felt compelled to speak up, or maybe he would have followed Dickey’s example and tried to power through it.
However, a knuckleball pitcher does not put the kind of stress on his body that a slugging first baseman does, and Davis’s endgame even in a .380 season may have been a late-August shutdown. (On the side, I suspect Dickey’s torn muscle may have helped him take the knuckler to the next level – it started going angry about a month after his injury.)
So where do the Mets, and Davis, go from here?
For the sake of both parties, the Mets should look to trade Davis. The Orioles and Pirates are said to be still in the hunt, but one has to wonder how this news will impact their pursuit. After this latest twist to the Davis dilemma, will anyone like Ike?