The Case for Keeping Ike Davis

mets-granderson-baseballI was watching the Curtis Granderson press conference on SNY, and a short time after Granderson (who likes salmon way more than I do) was interviewed Sandy Alderson took a turn. It was the usual, and really, what can Alderson say right now? I understand. But I was watching anyway, as it was early afternoon and it’s not like I was missing anything else on TV. And then came a good moment of reality television, when Kevin Burkhardt asked Sandy if it was possible that Ike Davis and Lucas Duda could both still be Mets a few months from now. The question froze Alderson, who couldn’t bring himself to answer. Seconds passed, more than one or two, and I could just imagine what Sandy was thinking:

“No, no, no, not if there is a God in heaven.”

ike-davis-

Eventually the poor guy said something about it not being optimal or something like that. The truth is the answer wasn’t nearly as interesting as the frozen moment. We know that Sandy knows that one of these guys has to go. The trick is making it happen. We have joked many times about Sandy Alderson’s salary; well he is earning it right now. He is a salesman, and his product is Ike Davis.

I keep thinking about the conversation with fellow GMs. It could go like this.

Sandy: “Hey, any interest in Ike? He has big time power.”

GM: “You need power, why are you trading him?”

Sandy: (a long, long pause, followed by a shrug)

GM: “Maybe we will take a shot. What does he make in 2014?”

Sandy:(another long, long pause, followed by a shrug)

Now that is just my take and the good news is I am always wrong about Davis. So there is hope yet, of not only a trade, but a good one. But if it is about me being wrong the Mets should just keep the guy. Because I’m convinced Ike would be horrible if he stays. That alone might be reason enough to trade Duda.

There are others.

Duda Strikes out looking

 

 

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10 comments

  1. Patrick Boegel says:

    I am just going to type this aloud.

    I am somewhat convinced that the current coaching staff and manager may in fact be horrible teachers and even worse communicators. At the pro stage of the game there is very little to teach but fine tuning. And yet, when one looks at Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, to a lesser extent Kirk Nieuwenhuis, among others that are on the younger end of the spectrum I get a sense of confusion, particularly when these guys hit. In three cases one could make a clear argument that since 2011, three of these players regressed substantially. The other simply never has been an applied part for a variety of reasons.

    The easy thing to do is dismiss them as not good players, but frankly statistically their minor league performance indicated at worst decency, competency. And yet we all know we hear about the “approach” this organization wants, and yet I think we have here, 4 players who cannot for the life of them square up to the ramblings. Case in point last year, when at one point in I think mid June when the Met offense was on the outskirts of a high octane Futbol club in scoring prowess, Terry Collins remarkable post game interview in which he admonished Davis, Duda and others for “taking” too many hittable pitches.

    One would hope that adult athletes would have enough between the ears to get the idea, but I have to suspect that it might be the messenger and not the recipients perhaps to blame here.

    • Well, I am with you 100% on this. Let’s add d’Arnaud to the mix now. I’m an old-fashioned guy, in that I worry about taking away a player’s natural aggressiveness. As a coach — with kids and teenagers, mind you, low level stuff — I pretty much never scold a kid for being too aggressive at the plate. It’s the attitude I want to see. Too many of them go up afraid to swing the bat.

      One other thing: Strikeouts come with this approach. In huge numbers. There’s a line coaches use: “The best way to deal with the curveball is to hit the fastball.” Likewise, if you don’t want to strike out, avoid two-strike counts. Everything changes when you have two strikes. The swing gets defensive, power gets cut down, you have to “protect,” pitchers have you in a vulnerable spot, throw the splitter, the slider darting out of the zone. So if your approach is to work deep counts — to see a lot of pitches per AB — then you are going to see a lot of 2-strike counts. And what logically follows is, a ton of strikeouts. I’ve heard Hudgens say on national television that they want hitters who are comfortable with two strikes. Nothing makes him so happy as a 2-2 count, a 1-2 count. Four-five pitches per plate appearance, baby!

      One more thing: In the adult league where I played for years, I’d sometimes come up with a runner on 3rd, less than 2 outs. In those situations, the worst thing I could do was strike out. Right? So my approach in those situation — the irony is that I did have a good eye, and did normally take pitches: Hudgens would have liked me! — was to swing early at the first decent pitch I saw. I didn’t want to get to 2 strikes. Because, you know, it’s one away from strike three.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        We have two rules with the travel softball team I manage.

        1. if the ball is rolling to you, don’t swing
        2. if you are looking up at the ball don’t swing

        Everything else is fair game and ultimately teaches them to learn their own actual strike zone.

        Our mantra is, the first pitch you get might be the best pitch you see all day, let ‘er rip.

        There are many pedestrian pitchers in MLB. Not everyone is Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Cliff Lee in their prime painting Picasso’s on hitters zones.

        These pedestrian pitchers like to get ahead early. Crush them.

  2. IB says:

    I’d trade both Davis and Duda. Move Murphy to 1st. Start Young at 2nd.

    Not an original idea, but it makes the most sense to me. With Granderson and C. Young added to the lineup there’s probably enough HR power to cover Murphy’s 12 or so a year. A lot is being said of Murphy not being a “game changer’ but I disagree. There are stretches where he can carry a team offensively, gap to gap. I’d hate to lose him.

  3. On Ike, it looks like I might have been wrong. It appears that Sandy’s options now are: 1) Pull trigger on a truly crappy deal (at best); 2) Wait out the marketplace, Hart, Moreland, etc, hope for injuries.

    I sincerely believe that there are baseball people who would love to get Ike Davis out of NY, away from “take philosophy” of Alderson-Hudgens (I refuse to call it a “hitting philosophy”), and watch this guy reboot to his original capabilities. A dangerous LH bat. The question is, how much do you pay for that opportunity. Not much.

    If Ike gets away from the Mets, I think he’ll hit 30 HRs somewhere, someday. I don’t believe he’ll do that in NY with this group.

    • Alan K. says:

      Howard Johnson recently stated that he believed Ike could be a 30 HR hitter again but that Ike picked up a lot of bad habits at the plate and that he would do better with a more aggressive approach. Obviously, Ho Jo’s opinion isn’t totally objective after being fired by the Mets but as Jimmy suggested, I think there are baseball people who think that Ike could thrive with a change of scenery. But since Ike is arb eligible and there’s obviously a chance he may not regain his form, no team is going to give up a lot for Ike. And while there’s a case for keeping Ike, I don’t think it’s going to work if the Hudgens-Alderson “take philosophy” will be still be rigidly applied.

    • wkkortas says:

      I agree; it’s a “horses for courses” thing. The organizational philosophy isn’t a good fit for Ike, and getting out of New York its ownself might not hurt him, either.

  4. Frank Dunne says:

    Jim & Mike… I can see it already. Ike traded for cash (not much) to the Marlins. He hits 32 HR’s, bats .290 and is an everyday player at first. When at Citi… he destroys Mets pitching… hits .410 against them with 7 HR’s.

    Don’t get me wrong. The best thing for both Ike and the Mets is to have him anyplace but Flushing. I would hate for them to get nothing for him. But with Sandy’s /ownership’s mindset… “it will free up some cash” With decent coaching and a fresh start- I think he will be an asset for someone… just not with the Mets.

  5. Eraff says:

    Finance and business opportunity MIGHT be the logic of bringing Davis Back. It simply makes no sense that they tendered him for the purpose of trading him.

    Yes…I have disdain for THE TROIKA… BUT…. They are NOT responsible for this ridiculous situation!…because it has NO string of Logic!!! It’s beyon disagreement—right or wrong…It’s INSANE…it doesn’;t make sense!

    Here’s what makes sense….. TROIKA shrugged and decided that Davis was a Usable “gamble” at 3,5- 4.5 million dollars….with the assumption that they’d have about 100 million or so to spend. They tendered him and THEN were informed by ownership that “the number” was “around 90 million”….successively 87…and now 85 million….and we don’t know what they thought was being included—Just Rostered Players?…….. does it now include the buyouts….Bobby Bonilla?….. what!?

    Prices are only a little surprising…c’mon…they’re smart guys…. what’s more surprising is their budget.

    So— They need to decide…. Tejada and Davis?……..with Murphy at 2nd = about 11 million dollars. OR….. Trade Davis….TRade Murphy….Sign Drew to a 14 million dollar deal.

    That scenario means they have defined the SS position for 3-4 years….and they have a hole at 2nd…with some ideas and available players to fill it….and t6hey still retain about 10 million for the rest of their roster.

    TENDERING Ike was a Baseball decision…… Trading Ike and Shopping Murph is Entirely beyond baseball. Not a big Murph fan, but a 70-80 rbi 2bman who gets 45-55 xbh at 6 million dollars is a HIGH VALUE Bat….. if That’s your Salary Dump, it’s pathetic!!!! If you think he’s not an adequate 2bman, then make a deal ( I do agree…he’s not a good 2bman…he’s a good bat)…he’s tradeable for an OF’er…a role pitcher…maybe a good prospect—NOT a SS.

    Ahhhh… Meet The Mets!

  6. If they can trade Ike and get anything back for him — even a good bullpen arm — then I believe they will be vindicated in tendering Davis.

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