Do Mets Want Ike Davis To Fail?

Just read this on Newsday:

The Mets have assured Terry Collins that his job is not in danger and his future with the team will be discussed when his contract expires at the end of this season, two sources told Newsday.

Not only is Collins safe, there have been no conversations about Wally Backman as a potential replacement, either for this year or beyond. In fact, Backman’s bold guarantees this week about fixing Ike Davis have rubbed some in the organization the wrong way after so much time and effort trying to help Davis at the major-league level.

When asked about the possibility of Backman eventually taking over for Collins, one person familiar with the situation replied, “There’s zero chance of that happening. Zero.”

Let’s forget about the part where people think Terry Collins should be replaced by Wally Backman, because it’s irrelevant and unlikely to happen. If Collins is fired / resigns before the end of this season, the interim manager will be either Tim Teufel or Bob Geren — no doubt.

Rather, let’s focus on the other issue in this story, the part that goes “…Backman’s bold guarantees this week about fixing Ike Davis have rubbed some in the organization the wrong way after so much time and effort trying to help Davis at the major-league level.”


If you missed Backman’s interview with Mike Francesa, you can listen to it here

In a nutshell, Backman explains that he, his staff, and roving instructor Lamar Johnson were confident that they’d get Ike Davis “right.” That IS Backman’s (and Johnson’s) job after all — to get players prepared for MLB. Yet somehow, some way, someone in the Mets organization is ticked off that Backman had the audacity to verbalize WHAT HE’S PAID TO DO??????

Ike was sent down specifically to get himself fixed. He was sent to Las Vegas to get away from New York, the pressures that go with it, and work with Backman, George Greer, and Johnson. The expectation is that those three men can focus on Ike and get him back to the big leagues as soon as possible. Should Backman NOT be confident in his staff’s ability to turn Ike around? Should he be pessimistic?

I’m not sure what the issue is here. If you listen to the interview, Backman says nothing derogatory about the MLB coaching staff. He doesn’t criticize anyone. He doesn’t suggest that Ike couldn’t have been fixed by the MLB staff. He DOES suggest that removing the pressure of playing every day in NYC would be helpful toward clearing Ike’s head. He DOES suggest that having Ike work with people he worked with early in his pro career — Greer and Johnson — would be advantageous. Based on his, Greer’s, and Johnson’s familiarity with Ike and Ike’s early success as a pro, he’s confident they’ll find a way to get him back to the bigs.

And that’s a problem?

So … does that mean that when/if Ike Davis returns to the Mets 25-man roster, it will make someone look bad? Therefore, would the Mets prefer that Ike Davis continue to fail in the minors, to support their belief that since he couldn’t be fixed by the MLB staff, he’s unfixable?

If so, this organization is in worse shape than anyone could have guessed.

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. Walnutz15 June 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm
    I was thinking the same…..exact….thing, Joseph.

    Only other thought was that unless Backman went on with Francesa – without clearance from the organization.

    ………otherwise there was absolutely nothing wrong with what he actually said.

    Unless, of course, Alderson doesn’t want Ike in the plans?

    All this initially read to me was: people just love to get “up in arms” over anything at all Backman-related.

    But looking further into it, who knows what the Front Office’s plan is anymore — or who’s included in the long-view?

  2. Walnutz15 June 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm
    The other thing, that kinda ties into this story, which we’re seeing more and more and more of this year…..whether it be, “sources close to the situation”, or “unnamed source” — the media’s running absolutely roughshod with anything they can.

    ………….but this typically happens when your squad’s not very good.

    Newsday’s report here, frankly – sucks.

    It opens by saying how Backman didn’t have much of a shot to become Manager under the front office’s style of having a more “middle-manager” guy (read: Yes-Man figurehead in name)…..then attempts to segway into it stemming from what he said on the radio.

    ………which was nothing bad, to begin with.

    Between this and the Baxter thing (which I’d posted along with comments in last night’s game thread — and will include below), this franchise sure is flaunting off the guys wearing skirts within the confines of Citi Field’s press boxes and locker rooms.

    Be a man, and put your name to it — otherwise, shut your yap already.


    “Baxter’s wife is 9 mos pregnant.. Some Met players were livid that Valdespin is still here and Baxter was sent down.”

    Believe me, I feel for the situation that was just created for the Baxter FAMILY. However, I couldn’t care less about any of the sentiment resounding from this, from a baseball perspective.

    Makes me chuckle that we now have an officially-named Captain, yet still see this kind of thing in the press — maybe even more than we had in years past.

    (Seems as though Martino has Rubin by a smidge in terms of competing for beat writer “drama queen” of the year, though — at least Rubin’s informative. Martino’s the worst-employed hack I’ve seen in the NY media for quite some time now.)

    Memo to whoever’s “livid” —

    Mike Baxter is a AAAA player, who brings very little to the table.

    Younger, more athletic options – who can play the infield, in addition to the outfield should at least be given a stretch of playing time that has already been afforded to a guy like Baxter.

    Overall, it’s too bad for Baxter and his wife……I’m not that cold-hearted. But from a baseball perspective?

    Get over it.

  3. NormE June 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm
    It seems to me that there a few things going on:
    There are some in the media who look to stir the pot—-trying to create issue/stories.
    The Met front office/owners have a history of being inept in their public relations.

    Baseball can be a great and beautiful game. Unfortunately there are too many who are not between the lines who manage to screw it up.

  4. DaveSchneck June 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm
    Agreed, this is a combination of what NormE pointed out – the media reporting on every tiny little nook and cranny of organizational/human behavior – along with the general hypersensitivity of the modern day. There is nothing wrong with Backman’s words on the surface, and if someone was ruffled by them, that someone is really the issue.
  5. TexasGusCC June 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm
    I agree wih everything Walnutz says but one thing: These media leaks have been happening with the Mets since as long as I can remember. It’s not the record. Whether it’s an executive or a player, there are too many loose lips in this organization, and “loose lips sink ships”. That’s just an example of the divisiveness that this team suffers from.

    I hardly read Yankee articles, but do they have this problem also?

    • Joe Janish June 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm
      No Gus, the Yankees rarely have issues of drama leaking out — unless it has to do with A-Rod.
  6. Mic June 14, 2013 at 1:43 am
    The only thing missing above is the ‘mets organization source’ … Based on the absurdity in the story we can go out a limb here and attribute it to ?…Jeff Wilpon.
  7. TexasGusCC June 14, 2013 at 2:04 am
    Well, if I were running the Mets, I would trade Davis. Here’s why:
    [The first two are carry more weight, but everything is considered.]

    1. He seems to be stubborn and doesn’t take well to coaching. That will only worsen as he gets more MLB experience and thinks he has accomplished something. He already acts and reacts like he’s a ten year veteran.

    2. You never see hear of him working on his craft. He may not be hitting, but how about the defensive lapses? When was the last time you saw him scoop out a throw? It has been a while for me.

    3. Flores is coming up and he seems to be a better pure hitter. Maybe not as much power yet, but all the hitting statistics and percentages are there.

    4. Davis will soon be arbitration eligible and I wouldn’t want him to be taking up payroll when I don’t know if he can ever be a consistent contributor at a position that has many consistent contributors and probably the easiest offensive position to fill.

  8. NormE June 14, 2013 at 7:11 am
    TexasGus, your last point is like the elephant in the room. The Mets don’t want to go to arbitration with Ike because it’s a process that they can’t control. Thus, they have to hope that he can be “fixed” in LV so that he can be trade bait. if he continues to flounder the Mets might be forced to cut him adrift like Pelfrey.
  9. Dan B June 14, 2013 at 7:56 am
    File this all under “more reasons to not like Jeff Wilpon’s organization style”. Somewhere Doubleday is laughing his large buttocks off.
  10. argonbunnies June 14, 2013 at 11:31 pm
    No one wants Ike to fail. Ike failing is not good for anyone. That said, if the minor league staff can fix Ike tomorrow, then yes, that makes the MLB staff look like chumps, and they should be replaced. Perhaps they are aware of that, are fearing for their jobs already (heads do tend to roll when a team is this bad), and thus are “rubbed the wrong way”.

    So “some in the organization” is probably someone like Teufel & Hudgens. Yay unidentified sources.

    Or we could just assume that someone in upper management is an idiot. The last 7 years make that seem generally true, so why not this time too? *shrug*