Should Ike Davis Be Demoted?


Although Ike Davis stroked a double in Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto, he has struggled mightily all season, and can’t seem to break out of his slump. As a result, there is buzz that Ike could be sent down to the minors to work out his issues. Is that the best plan?

Per Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY:

“There is nothing etched in stone,” Collins said with respect to minors consideration for Davis. “We will never, never say something is not going to happen. What we’re trying to do is make sure is we wring the rag dry. And that’s why, coming into this road trip, we said, ‘Look, here’s some pretty good opportunities.’ This is a pretty good hitting park. Pittsburgh is a pretty good hitting park. We’ve got right-handers, right-handers, right-handers coming up. Let’s just see if we can get him going.”

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Davis said Sunday morning. “I’m going to play here until something happens. … I really can’t answer questions about that until something happens. I’m not sent down yet, so I don’t know what to tell you.

“I feel fine. I’ve hit some balls hard, just never found a hole.

As Rubin points out earlier in that article, two other slugging first basemen have been demoted recently: Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins and Toronto’s Adam Lind. So, if Davis is sent down as well, it’s not unprecedented, and shouldn’t be shocking.

Looking at the bigger picture, sending Ike to the minors might be a good thing for the Mets over the short-term, considering the way Mike Baxter and Scott Hairston have been swinging the bat lately. With Ike in the minors, the Mets can move Lucas Duda to 1B and give both Baxter and Hairston at-bats while they’re hot. Such a move would also improve the Mets’ outfield defense.

For the long term, sending Ike down might be exactly what he needs to get out of his funk and back on track to being the Mets first baseman of the present and future. There are a few elements at play here. First and foremost, Ike missed nearly an entire season of baseball, and it’s difficult for a hitter to get back in the groove after so much time away. It’s particularly difficult for a hitter who has a long stride, big swing, and lots of moving parts — as Ike does. Timing is everything for Ike, and his is way off — and has been since the beginning of spring training.

The longer Ike struggles, the deeper he digs into a hole, and the harder it is to emerge from it. After a while, a slumping hitter starts taking his thoughts to the field, and may not be as focused on defense. Further, he starts questioning his ability, and without confidence it’s impossible to hit big-league pitching. Finally, there is knowing that you’re hurting your team, and you start to press. We saw this on Sunday afternoon with Ike’s aggressiveness on the bases. It was great that he was hustling and able to stretch a single into a double, and then took third on a wild pitch. But when he went rushing home on the second wild pitch, that was Ike making a decision based on wanting to make a contribution to the team, rather than on smart baseball.

Right now, Ike’s issue is physical: he needs to find his timing. However, it’s being compounded and extended by the mental and emotional strain that comes with continued struggle over length of time. It probably best to be in somewhere in Upstate New York (or Florida), away from the daily stress of the media and the feeling of burdening his teammates, working out his issues. Away from it all, he can focus on getting his swing right, and nothing else.

Here’s my feeling: if Ike doesn’t break out with a few good at-bats and solid line drives in Pittsburgh, then he’ll be demoted. And that will be the right decision. After playing the Pirates, the Mets return to Flushing, where Ike is hitting .065. It makes no sense to put him into the Citi Field environment while he’s slumping badly. Get him down somewhere else — even if it’s Port St. Lucie — to get himself straight. My bet is he’ll return to MLB mashing within a few weeks.

What do you think? Should the Mets demote Ike Davis to the minors to work things out? Why or why not? And if they do, how should the lineup be reconfigured as a result?

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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. meticated May 21, 2012 at 6:45 am
    its starts with the equilibrium st center of gravity…if the mevhsnics dont consider eeiggt shift…then the hand eye will not catch up in a coordinated manner. put him on a Gyrogym/orbitron and ket him rediscover his core and sense of balance…the mass if the upper half sitting into the horizontally planar bottom half whrre the topside is fluid and nearly weightless. then it doesnt matter so much all the hitches and tics bc he will stroke thru the ball with power and glide…all hw has to do is breatbe deeply diaphragmatically and exhale at contact and voila
  2. meticated May 21, 2012 at 6:48 am
    sorry….mechanics and weight shift…echhhh
  3. kranepool May 21, 2012 at 7:59 am
    I think we tend to forget that Ike missed just about a full season and he’s having a tough time getting his timing back. A 2-3 week stay in the minors could help as an extended spring training for Ike and hindsight even with his good spring maybe he should have been left in Florida to start the season between coming back from injury and his bout with Valley Fever
  4. DaveSchneck May 21, 2012 at 8:51 am
    Joe,
    Yes, sending Ike down is in play based on the points you make. This is major league baseball, and there are no givens. Ike has potential but the sample size is small and he is prone to extended dry spells. Case in point was his first pro season, in Brooklyn, which was terrible to say the least. He needs to straighten himself out and proven he can contribute, and he is killing the team. That boneheaded out at home plate is just another of the “other” things besides his average that have hurt the team.
  5. gary s. May 21, 2012 at 9:01 am
    Does not appear to be much choice if he is hitting .160 by Memorial Day.The bigger question to answer is what if he doesn’t hit in the minors?Than what??
    • Steven May 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm
      Someone asked what happens if Ike doesent hit in the minors? The answer is simple but a great disappointment. It means that unfortunately, he will not have a viable major league career.
  6. Walnutz15 May 21, 2012 at 10:08 am
    It’s pretty simple with Ike, albeit from an arm-chair Hitting Instructor standpoint.

    You can look at Line Drive Rates, “Luck”, BABIP whatever fancy Advanced Statistics, etc….

    As long as his mechanics are off, he’s going to be lunging and making contact out in front.

    A prolonged period of success is DEFINITELY needed, not only from a physical standpoint – in getting to some sort of semblance of something that works —- but mentally, it’s going to do a number on him.

    We still haven’t seen him going out there, making a conscious effort to take EVERYTHING the other way. It’s the only way he’s going to be able to get himself back to driving the ball with authority.

    If we think a Minor League-stint is going to help him, then you’ve got to make that decision soon — since a guy like Mike Baxter has been swinging well……and can get more time in the outfield, provided a guy like Duda moves to 1B during a stint at Triple-A. (As you’ve also mentioned.)

    Hudgens seems to be stretching with this quote:

    “He just needs those [line drives] to fall,” hitting coach Dave Hudgens said.

    This is a major project to be graded on, and so far – he’s not doing very much to get Ike on track, IMHO. (Ditto, Jason Bay during his Met-tenure – for that matter.)

    If Ike’s going to be in the lineup, then I’d tell him to forget about pulling a ball at all. Not that that always works amidst a game-situation – but he’s needed to shorten up and start driving the ball to LF for a long time now.

    Then again, the Mets are strolling into Pittsburgh – and who knows what kind of mistakes may/may not be made by their pitching staff.

    Not going to be easy for Ike, provided he even plays the 1st game of the series (vs. Bedard).

  7. MikeT May 21, 2012 at 10:27 am
    Jason Heyward went through this last year albeit in much different circumstances. Was Heyward ever sent down? I’m not sure but I know he never really came out of it and is doing much better this year. I think that Ike needs to go down, clear his head, and return with his old swing. The one where he wasn’t afraid to shorten up with two strikes and go the other way. Perhaps that is just approach, but this year he seems only interested in HRs. He needs to readjust and that is hard to do at the MLB level.
  8. SiddFinch May 21, 2012 at 11:09 am
    I think they need to send him down. He was dropped in the order and that didn’t help so they have no choice. I’d move Murph to 1st, bring up Valdespin to play 2B (let’s see what they have in him) rather than bring Duda in to play 1st. After Bay get back, move Kirk to CF and make Torres the fourth OF.

    The fact is this could be a lost year for Ike and if so, there will be a few questions on what do at 1B in 2013. If Bay gets hot when he comes back then try to trade him, maybe back to the Bosox or even the Rays. Then call up Satin, and work Valdespin into the OF mix-making Jordany the Mets utility guy. Or if Ike’s hitting well again, call him up and move Murph back to 2B.

    • MikeT May 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm
      they are not going to move Murphy. Two reasons. One, they have repeatedly said he is more valuable to the team at 2B. His hitting profiles much better as a second-baseman. Second, they have said Duda is a ideally a first baseman. If they thought they would be without Ike at first for an extended period, or it they moved Ike from their future plans entirely, Duda would move to first.
  9. Izzy May 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm
    Send him down, don’t send him down, Why do the Mets have to always make everything an issue with the press? Just make your g-d decision and do it. Its not a hard decision. Just do it… Will they??? Well, are they making baseball decisons again, trying to win or monetary. If the send Kirk down its obvious that baseball wins is still irrelevant, as Kirk needs about 20 days in the minors to be owned for an extra year. Minaya already played this game with Davis.
  10. James May 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm
    Yes send him down. He’s a smart guy and will figure it out in more relaxed environment.
  11. jerseymet May 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm
    Let Ike put it togeather in Buffalo. Give Pascucci a cup of coffee at Citi Field.
  12. Joe May 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm
    Sending him down makes sense.

    I think referencing other teams also is important. Take the closer. This is a bad year for MLB closers — more than one lost their job, more than usual seem to be hurt.

    Puts the Mets situation in perspective.

  13. KenFM May 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm
    The Mets have three other players on the major league roster who can play first. They need hitting and cannot continue to endure a .160 batting average. Is he a major leaguer? Even he does not know! This team is in a very tough division and a little more than .500 baseball will not cut it.

    Send him down when Bay returns. Bay had started to hit, but if he doesn’t hit upon his return then they need to place his fanny on the bench and go with someone else.

    They must act or be left behind. This is not a social function, it is big salaried players causing fans to spend a small fortune to attend a game – they must put the team with the best chance to win on the field every day.

  14. Bernie May 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm
    NO NO NO he is the BEST first Base the Mets HAVE,, NO NO & NO
  15. JoeD1966 May 23, 2012 at 1:19 am
    Gaby Sanchez was just sent down he he’s had more success than Ike. They should just do it already. Everything is a long drawn out process with the Mets.