Mets Spring Training Question 21: Ike Davis

With 21 Days Until Pitchers and Molinas report to spring training, let’s go through the Mets most burning 21 questions that need to be resolved before Opening Day — addressing one question at a time.

Today’s question is: how will Ike Davis perform after his ankle injury, and what happens if he has yet another setback — who will play first base?

Remember, there was talk of Davis needing microfracture surgery last summer, but by September it was decided that his ankle could heal without it. I’m not going to suggest it was the wrong decision, but I am also not going to take for granted that Davis will be 100% healthy when he reports to Port St. Lucie in a few weeks. Your memory, Adam Rubin, and Matthew Callan of Amazin’ Avenue know better than to trust anything from the Mets that is medically related.

Personally, my fingers are crossed that Davis comes back without any issues whatsoever, and I’m hoping for the best. But, one has to believe that there will be some kind of downgrade in performance — at the very least, more limited mobility in the field and/or decrease in Ike’s already slow running speed. If that’s the worst of his problems, it won’t be a big deal, since a slugging first baseman doesn’t need to run fast and doesn’t need to have Ozzie Smith -like range in the field. However, the feet do play a role in hitting, so we’ll have to keep an eye on Ike’s swing mechanics.

Now, what about the worst-case scenario — that Ike has a setback and needs to miss some or all of the 2012 season? Who then becomes the Mets first baseman? Does Daniel Murphy get pulled out of the second base experiment for the third straight year? If so, who takes over at 2B — Justin Turner, Ronny Cedeno, or someone else? What if Ike’s setback is only temporary — does it make sense to move Murphy there, only to move him back to 2B, and in turn miss crucial development time? Or does it make more sense to move Lucas Duda to 1B — which then creates a hole in right field?

There it is, question #21 … discuss …

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Joe January 30, 2012 at 10:13 am
    Somewhat related question — there has been some feeling among fans that the Mets handled a few key injuries badly. Is this true and if so, (1) did anything change and (2) was it ever submitted to an extended story in the media? Major issue, as seen by concern of concussions in football etc. If not true, it would be an interesting fan perception issue.
  2. HobieLandrith January 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    Joe, follow the Amazin’ Avenue link and at least one of your questions will be answered.
    • Joe January 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm
      Thanks Hobie.

      “Matthew Callan at Amazin’ Avenue has you covered for the journalismism bit of it—i.e., why are some of these stories coming out now for the first time.”

      Telling point. First time. Ridiculous. But, this is a long time beef for me generally, not just regarding sports journalism. Some things seem to be, at times rightly so (that is, sometimes the assumptions are wrong, but sometimes quite right), just not talked about enough by the media. Some blogs focus on political matters. But, it is not just limited there.

  3. John D January 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm
    I’m certainly hoping to see Ike stay healthy all year and continue to show that he can be among the best first basemen in baseball, but I think Mets have plenty of options if he does miss time.

    I’d love to see if Reese Havens can come up and stay healthy and see what he can do for a full year. Murphy to first, Havens to second. If Havens can’t stay healthy, keep Murphy at second and put Duda at first. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, hopefully, would be ready to go sometime this season and seems to me outfielders are a little easier to find then second basemen.

    Murph and Duda would, of course, be better served by playing one position all year, but let’s be honest, neither is going to have to clear space on their mantle for a Gold Glove trophy, so if they put off learning second or right respectively for a year, so be it.

  4. argonbunnies January 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm
    I’m willing to believe that Ike’s ankle is healed enough for him to hit. Not having seen live pitching in 11 months, though, I don’t expect a hot start with the bat.

    I assume his patience/power combo will eventually get him going, but don’t expect a high average (too many Ks) and don’t expect the Citi walls to add HRs (when he hits ’em, they’re out anywhere, so the old dimensions never robbed him). I think he’ll be a good hitter overall, but he may be just average for a 1B.

    When Ike’s hot, hitting him behind Wright would be good for David, who seems to do his worst when he feels like he’s supposed to be The Man.

    At first base, Ike will stay tall and stretchy, but his mediocre quickness is probably going to go all the way down to poor. You need good feet and legs for sudden, explosive reactions. I’m expecting a lot of balls to go by him this year.

    On the bases, I think that’s the biggest unknown. Will Ike be merely slow, or Bengie Molina slow? If he’s on first and the batter hits a gapper that rolls to the wall, will Ike barely make it home, or barely make it to 3rd?

  5. Chris January 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm
    Fred told me to give the team a try so I say Ike bounces back: He will be the single Met representative at the All Star Game. Of course that is where he meets one of the Kardashian sisters, marries her and gets his own reality TV show. He divorces her 6 weeks later, is booed mercilessly by the 1300 fans at Citi Field and is eventually traded for 3 PTBNLs (which, of course are never named).
  6. Don January 31, 2012 at 11:00 am
    This team is a total mess.It doesn’t matter who plays where,there isn’t enough talent on this team to compete for 4th place.I have been a Mets fan for over 40 years,and this is the most disappointed I have ever been going into a regular season.I think it’s time for the Wilpons to SELL THE TEAM!!!!!!!