Once again this offseason, the New York Mets are in the middle of some hot trade rumors, this time regarding third base.
Rumors are circulating that the Mets may be looking to acquire the services of either Kris Bryant of the Cubs, or Matt Chapman from the Athletics, among other notable players.
However, the Mets do have a talented young third baseman currently on the roster, with a stellar 2019 season under his belt, along with a cheaper salary and more years of team control, and I believe the Mets would be better off keeping him penciled in at 3rd in 2021.
JD Davis should be the starting third baseman for the Mets in 2021
Prior to the 2019 season, the New York Mets acquired third baseman JD Davis in a trade with the Houston Astros.
Being thrust into the starting lineup following a plethora of injuries, Davis ended up playing in 140 games for his debut season in New York, splitting time between starting at third base and left field.
For the season, Davis ended up with a batting average of .307 and a .369 OBP, hitting 22 HR and logging 57 RBI, outperforming any and all expectations for him heading into 2019.
Heading into the 2020 season, fans were curious to see how he would follow up in an impressive debut for the Mets. However, the season was delayed until the end of July, which threw many players into a flux.
In 2020, Davis’ power and RBI output regressed, hitting only 6 HR and 19 RBI over 56 games, and his average dropped to a .247, however, his overall OBP did improve to a .371, which was 5th highest on the team and 22nd highest overall in the MLB.
While Davis did admittedly have a down year, I don’t believe his performance warrants the Mets to move on from someone who still is a very promising young player. Additionally, in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons, he arguably was on par with or outperformed both Chapman and Bryant in all mentioned offensive categories.
As stated previously, he comes with a cheaper salary, as he is earlier on in his career, and the Mets would have more years of team control over him. I believe it would be a mistake to move on from him for what would be a more expensive player with the potential for a minor offensive upgrade.
The main argument for getting rid of Davis is not his offense, but rather, his sketchy defensive track record. For 2020, he had a fielding percentage at third base of .958 with 3 errors in 34 games, and while that isn’t the worst in the league, there is room for improvement.
Despite this subpar defense, I think it would be a mistake to lose Davis and potentially give up other prospects for a shorter-term defensive upgrade which may not result in a better offensive output.
Defense is important, but as Mets fans know all too well, no matter how good a team’s defense is, if they don’t score runs, they won’t win many games.
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With Davis already being on the team, along with his great offensive potential and low salary compared to the alternatives, unless whoever they get to replace Davis greatly improves on his offensive potential, the Mets are better off penciling him in at third base to start 2021.