Despite plenty of speculation over the course of this season that they could look to part ways with the young first baseman, it doesn’t appear as though the New York Mets have given any consideration towards non-tendering Ike Davis this winter. The team is prepared to go into next season with Davis on the roster, according to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, but the possibility still exists that they could look to trade him sometime during the offseason.
Davis’ future with the Mets remains in question, but the team is determined not to lose the 26 year old for nothing.
A rough start in 2012 nearly landed Davis back in the minor leagues, before a late season surge salvaged his year. When he saw some of the same struggles at the start of 2013 – a .161/.242/.258 batting line over 207 PA – he wasn’t quite so lucky. Davis found himself optioned down to Triple-A in early June. He’d hit well there, batting .293/.424/.667 over 21 games (92 PA), before returning to the Mets a month later. The time away appeared to have made a difference when Davis hit .267/.429/.443 in 170 PA after making his return. His season would end on August 31st, the result of a severely strained oblique.
Combined on the year he’d barely get by, batting .205/.326/.334 in 377 PA while striking out almost once per game (101 SO, 103 G). Not the kind of production that the Mets were hoping for.
Davis earned just $3.125 Million in 2013 and will face arbitration for the second time this coming winter. It’s highly uncommon for players to see a reduced salary through arbitration from one year to the next, but such a practice is not out of the question by any means with regards to Davis. His 2013 season translates to a colossal disappointment when you add in the stint back in the minor leagues. It might actually be possible for the Mets to justify not giving Davis a raise. Per rules set forth by the Collective Bargaining Agreement the Mets cannot cut Davis’ salary by more than 20%. He’s looking at a floor of $2.5 Million, provided the Mets can justify such an extreme reduction.
Even if he earns a similar figure for next season, the Mets should have no trouble affording such a salary given the exorbitant amount of money coming off their books at the end of the 2013 season.
Further complicating the decision, however, is the presence of Lucas Duda on the New York roster. Duda saw more limited playing time than Davis this season, but made more of his opportunities. Duda batted .242/.363/.441 in 306 PA on the year – demonstrating more plate discipline and more consistent power than Davis had done with more at bats. Both players should be playing first base (Duda can handle a corner outfield spot, but he’s better suited for first) and only one can play at a time.
With Duda in the fold, Davis could likely be shopped on the trade market this winter. With a seemingly weak free agent class of first baseman, Davis could potentially draw some limited interest from a team in need. The Mets might not receive a significant return, but could stand to benefit from moving him on their terms instead of just letting him go for nothing.