The articles would say I wasn’t going to be here, so a little bit of shock I didn’t get traded, but I’m happy I didn’t. Just because it seemed like we were pretty adamant about going somewhere, but obviously they had to make the right deal for them, and no one offered them what they thought enough, so I’m back.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported the Pittsburgh Pirates are keeping an eye on Davis. The Baltimore Orioles are also rumored to still be interested, according to a report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
If Ike shows marked improvement in his swing this spring, trade rumors could once again swirl around him. Let’s take a look at how he would fit on the Pirates and Orioles, as well as the Mets, if the front office decides to keep him.
According to Stark’s report on ESPN.com, the Pirates have a few internal options for a platoon at first base with right-hander Gaby Sanchez.
Pittsburgh will be evaluating Andrew Lambo, Chris McGuiness and Travis Ishikawa. General manager Neil Huntington said the depth of competition in camp shouldn’t deter them from continuing to explore:
That doesn't stop us from looking elsewhere. It’s just that now, our bar has been set a little bit higher, as to 'How do we make the club better?' And 'How do we make the club better at the right situation for us?'
Arbitration-eligible for the second time, Sanchez signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal with Pittsburgh. In 136 games played last year, he hit .254/.361/.402 with seven home runs and 36 RBI.
Sanchez posted an impressive .333/.448/.539 line against left-handers. That success ended against righties, struggling to a .204/.304/.315 triple slash.
Davis would be an ideal platoon partner for Pittsburgh. He owns a career .256/.356/.471 line against right-handers, compared to a .204/.268/.334 line against southpaws. Also, 55 of his 67 home runs have come off righties.
He provides the type of power from the left side the Pirates want and would be an asset with his glove. If Davis rediscovers himself, he could even take over the everyday job at first base.
The only sticky situation would be Sandy Alderson's asking price, which no team has wanted to match.
Mets Merized Online reported New York previously asked for top pitching prospect, Nick Kingham. It’s unlikely Sandy will back down from this demand, especially if Ike has a strong spring.
There is no reason for Huntington to get desperate and strike a deal, especially now. It would be shocking if he gave in to Alderson’s demands, as opposed to waiting until midseason if they’re in playoff contention.
The Orioles already have a slugging first baseman in Chris Davis, but Joel Sherman reports in the New York Post that they’re still looking for a designated hitter.
The free-agent market still contains options such as Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz. However, both players are linked to draft-pick compensation, which would force the Orioles to forfeit their 55th overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft.
Mike Puma of the New York Post tweeted earlier this winter that Alderson asked Baltimore for Eduardo Rodriguez, another top pitching prospect. That request was denied.
The Orioles may feel more pressure than the Pirates to make a move now and solidify the lineup. In the past week, they’ve signed Suk-min Yoon and Ubaldo Jimenez to fortify their rotation.
Davis' $3.5 million salary for 2014 and power potential make him a strong fit for the Orioles. However, it would be a waste to make him the designated hitter when he has solid fielding ability.
If Ike bounced back offensively in Baltimore and the organization had confidence in him, general manager Dan Duquette could sell high on Chris Davis at the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July.
Alderson’s price is high, but it could allow Duquette some flexibility in various ways, especially if Ike enjoys Camden Yards, which is friendlier to hitters than Citi Field.
New York Mets
At this point in the year, it wouldn't be crazy to see Davis stay right where he is: New York.
Anthony Rieber of Newsday helped reveal Terry Collins’ plan to combat another slow start for his first baseman:
One of the things we're going to do obviously in spring training is we're going to give him some more at-bats. I think it's very, very important to try to get him in midseason form when the season starts. A lot of guys leave spring training and have 50, 60 at-bats. I might get him 80 to 100 this spring just to make sure he's ready to go when we start.
There’s no scientific proof this strategy will work. However, if he’s going to remain on the Mets’ roster, the coaching staff needs to try everything they can to get him going.
Mike Vorkunov of The Star-Ledger reported that Domonic Brown led the majors with 90 spring training at-bats for the Philadelphia Phillies last spring. That didn’t prevent him from hitting .233 in April.
Brown did finish the year with a .272/.324/.494 line with 27 home runs and 83 RBI. He bounced back from his slow start, but if Ike is slow out of the gate for a third straight year, he may not survive the season in New York.
There is still plenty of upside for Ike if he stays with the Mets. It would be a shame if New York traded him only to watch him blossom elsewhere.
Rising Apple captured an interesting quote at the Queens Baseball Convention from current SNY analyst and former Met, Ron Darling:
I still believe he’s gonna be great, I’m surprised he’s not yet…the greatest thing that might happen to the Mets (is not trading Ike Davis).
That statement seems outlandish, but it could end up being true. Coaches are already impressed with Davis’ improved mechanics, despite the hitch in his swing. If he pairs that with good plate discipline, Alderson may view him as too valuable to trade away.
Matt's Mets opinions have been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, Yahoo! Sports, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue and Mets Merized Online. To keep up with Matt, you can follow him on Twitter.
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