Mired in fourth place and having difficulties even beating the MLB-worst Miami Marlins, the New York Mets made a number of roster moves on Sunday to try and turn their season around. Rick Ankiel was designated for assignment prior to Sunday’s game. Ike Davis, Mike Baxter, and Robert Carson were all demoted to Triple-A following the 8-4 extra innings loss.
Davis’ demotion was perhaps the “big news” move of the day, as the first baseman has been a colossal disappointment on the year after leading the Mets in home runs just a season ago. His demotion to the minor leagues has been rumored for the past few weeks, but the team continued to try and let him work through his offensive woes. Finally they’d have enough following Sunday’s loss. Davis has hit just .164/.245/.262 in 204 PA on the year and has already struck out 65 times. Mets manager Terry Collins has pinch hit for Davis in each of the past two games, an uncharacteristic turn of events for the man who’s been filling the team’s void at first base since the 2010 season.
According to the team’s GM Sandy Alderson, via Adam Rubin at ESPNNY.com, the team has not placed a time table on when they expect Davis to return:
At some point you just have to say to yourself this is not in his best interest. I was one of his biggest supporters. I just felt at some point we’ve got to get him out of here. Hopefully he’ll be back in a short period of time. He needs to go there. He needs to be able to play everyday. He needs to be able to work on his swing without worrying necessarily about the outcome. We think it’s in his best interest.
Davis struggled at the plate last season, prompting rumblings that the team was considering sending him back to the minor leagues, but a turnaround at the plate and the lobbying by David Wright ultimately kept him in the Mets lineup. A year later and the results are drastically different. The team hopes he’ll regain his confidence and will be able to work his way back sooner rather than later.
Ankiel’s fate was somewhat inevitable, as the outfielder has seen his playing time steadily decrease in recent weeks. Ankiel’s hit a mere .182/.239/.364 in 71 PA since joining the Mets on May 13, just four days after being released by the Houston Astros (with whom he hit .194/.231/.484 in 65 PA before being DFA’d). He’d gone hitless over his last 33 at bats, striking out 17 times. It seems unlikely that a team will claim him off of waivers, likely meaning he’ll become a free agent once again. It’s unclear who, if anyone, will have an immediate interest in signing him to anything more than a minor league deal.
The team’s plan to DFA Ankiel actually became public late Saturday evening. With Ankiel out of the picture, Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been recalled to take his place. The 25 year old’s numbers at Triple-A have been far from impressive – .232/.339/.486 in 167 PA – but he stands more of a chance at being a part of the team’s future than Ankiel ever did and it’s time the team focuses on evaluating their internal options for the future rather than wasting playing time on unproductive veterans.
Baxter has batted .222/.347/.296 in 98 PA and has slumped of late, but his demotion may have been the least expected of the group. Carson, a left-handed reliever, has pitched to an 8.47 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, and 3.7 K/9 over 17.0 IP on the year. He’s been highly homer prone, giving up 7 on the year.
Satin, a first baseman, has hit .306/.421/.491 in 259 PA. He’ll presumably get the first crack at replacing Davis at first base, as the team doesn’t appear enamored with the idea of using either Lucas Duda or Daniel Murphy there. Cowgill (.157/.173/.294, 52 PA) and Edgin (9.64 ERA, 1.821 WHIP, 9.1 IP) both had stints with the Mets earlier this season before being sent down to the minors. Neither has overly impressed since their demotions but they’ll receive a second chance with this call up.