Mets Will Have to Make the Most of Ike Davis
The Milwaukee Brewers reached a minor league agreement with Mark Reynolds this morning. Milwaukee has been searching for a first baseman all winter long, and it appears they’re looking towards Reynolds as their solution.
The Brewers have flirted with the Mets this offseason regarding a trade for Ike Davis. The Mets wanted RHP Tyler Thornburg, a top pitching prospect whom the Brewers have penciled into their fifth starting slot going into Spring Training. Milwaukee deemed that price too high.
In signing Reynolds to a minor league deal reportedly worth $2 million, they revealed that pretty much any price would be too high. It’s interesting this came a day after the Mets avoided arbitration with Davis by signing him to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. While those numbers were largely predictable, since Ike made $3.1 million last year, and the arbitration process typically leads to some kind of raise, perhaps the Crew were scared off by Ike’s new salary. Or some combination of his salary and the Mets’ ask of Thornburg.
But it’s clear that the Brewers have decided to fill their first base need on the cheap. Reynolds – not unlike Davis – has great raw power, but a penchant for spells of sheer incompetence at the plate. He has 202 homers in his seven-year career, and has hit more than 30 three times (including 44 in 2009). He’s also struck out over 200 times in three separate seasons, and has led the league in that category four times.
Essentially, the Brewers have gotten an Ike Davis analogue (but with more of a track record), and they didn’t have to surrender Thornburg – or anyone else.
So, that leaves the Mets with Davis. Milwaukee was probably Ike’s most likely destination in a trade. And while other candidates exist, Sandy Alderson has made it clear by his deeds that he’s just not going to give him away.
The most likely scenario is the Mets and Davis are stuck with each other. Davis has not outwardly shown any discontent amid the flood of trade rumors that have surrounded him, and the Mets can only hope (once again) that Davis somehow puts it all together in 2014.
They will at least hope he can be the Ike Davis of the second half of last year, when he slashed .286/.449/.505. He only hit four homers, but if he can at least not be the black hole in the lineup he was in the first half of 2012 and 2013, it will be a huge help to the Mets lineup.
It may even behoove the Mets to sit him against tough lefties, since he only hit .145/.203/.203 against them last year. It was a small sample, but he clearly looked lost against southpaws.
These are the options the Mets have at first base going into camp. And one of them is going to have to step up and prove that the job belongs to him.