After weeks of debate, the New York Mets finally decided to send beleaguered first baseman Ike Davis and his .161 batting average to Triple-A Las Vegas to fix his swing.
Frustration has boiled over for the Mets after after losing seven of eight games, including last weekend’s two-game sweep, to the hapless Miami Marlins.
The Mets also chose to demote outfielder Mike Baxter and reliever Robert Carson. Baxter’s demotion would likely signal more playing time for Jordany Valdespin, if he didn’t hurt the team nearly every time he took the field.
Now, that’s not to say that Baxter has been playing well of late. He’s batting .212 and has just three hits in his last 30 at-bats dating back to May 13. The Mets are a team that’s in dire need of offense and Baxter certainly hasn’t helped much.
But Baxter is a player who does everything right, while Jordany Valdespin, well, doesn’t do much of anything right.
During the first inning of Sunday’s 10-inning loss to the Marlins, Valdespin was picked off attempting to steal third with two outs and cleanup hitter Daniel Murphy at bat. Any little leaguer will tell you that’s just bad baseball.
Is it a lack of fundamentals? Or is it a case of trying to do too much? Either way, Valdespin’s tenure with the Mets has been marred by an immaturity reminiscent of former top-prospect Lastings Milledge.
Valdespin is hitting just .226/.294/.376, but Mets brass appears to be enamored with his potential, which is largely style over substance to this point.
Sure, Valdespin hit a walk-off grand slam in late April, but he's hardly the clutch hitter many perceive him to be. He has just four hits in 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position. From innings seven to nine, Valdespin is 5-of-41 for a .122 average.
With Davis’ demotion to the Pacific Coast League, temporary as it may be, fans’ criticism of Valdespin is sure to be kicked up a notch.
It's not that he isn’t asking for it. Like Davis, Valdespin has constantly been in the news for all the wrong reasons this season.
In a well-documented case from May, Valdespin admired a meaningless home run during the ninth inning of a 7-2 loss to the Pirates. The next day, he took a fastball to the elbow during a pinch-hitting appearance. His teammates barely came to his defense following the ridiculous ordeal.
Unfortunately, the incident sums up Valdespin’s short career with the Mets.
At 23-35, the Mets have the second-worst record in the National League. The team could’ve chosen to send Valdespin back to the minors to prove a point about standards of professionalism.
Instead, Baxter is headed to Vegas and Jordany will continue to draw the ire of Mets fans each time he takes the field.