Can Ike figure this out?
As a team with an eye to the future, Davis plays an integral role in the resurrection of this franchise.
A power-hitting lefty, with an above-average glove at first base, Davis fulfills a niche that every team craves but very few can afford. See: Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees.
The market for power-hitting, left-handed first baseman seems to have peaked with the extension of Joey Votto by the Reds for 10 years and a reported $225 million. With similar players like Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, and Mark Teixeira off the market, Ike Davis became even more valuable to the Mets.
But things have not gone according to plan so far in 2012.
Ike's struggles have become painful to watch. His .168 batting average ranks him 186th out of 189 qualifiers. It's also 90 points below his career .258 BA.
His on-base percentage stands at .225, ranking him 184th in the bigs. It's also almost 120 points below his career OBP of .342.
It's no secret that Ike is having a rough time out there. He missed most of 2011 with an ankle injury, and may or may not have some mysterious strain of Valley Fever.
Entering the second week of May, it's decision time. Keep Ike with the big club, and have him adjust at this level? Or send him to Buffalo and have him figure it out without the persistent spotlight of New York City?
What would you do with Ike?
The Mets are 15-13 as of this writing, three games behind the Washington Nationals for the NL East lead. Where anyone thinks the Mets will finish the season is inconsequential right now. For the time being, they are very much in the thick of things in the National League.
They can ill afford to continuously run out a first baseman batting .168 and striking out 29.5 percent of his at-bats.
A soul-cleansing stint in Triple-A may be just what the doctor ordered for Ike and the Mets. It's not the permanent answer, as the Mets hardly have a realistic second option to fill the position for a full season. But it's the right move right now.
Better to send him down now than to simply keep our collective fingers crossed for another month in hopes that something clicks and Ike is back in top form.
He will be back. And when he is, we can all look back at the beginning of this season as just one big slump. Nothing more.