Rumblings had been surrounding the fate of first baseman Ike Davis stemming back into the offseason, but the New York Mets finally pulled the trigger on a deal yesterday, shipping the 27 year old to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Initially the return heading back to New York was not known, but as the evening continued it became known that the Mets would receive a pair of players from the Pirates – right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.
While the return appears modest, reports now suggest that the player to be named later will ultimately be the “key piece” to the deal, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The player to be named later in ike davis deal is expected to be a 2013 pirates draftee. Hearing that’s key piece. #mets
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 19, 2014
Players taken in last June’s Draft are not yet eligible to be traded. Teams must wait until at least one year after their initial signing date to include them in any deals, but that hasn’t stopped teams from including them in trades as a PTBNL before. Such a situation transpired just a few seasons ago, when the Cleveland Indians included their recent top draft pick, Drew Pomeranz, in a deal to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies. Pomeranz, whom the Indians had selected in the 1st Round of the 2010 Draft (#5 overall) did not sign until August 16th. The following July they completed their deal to obtain Jimenez just before the July trade deadline. It was leaked at the time that Pomeranz was to be included in that package but Colorado had to wait almost three weeks before officially obtaining their new arm from Cleveland.
This deal between the Mets and Pirates will clearly have a longer timeline to it before completion, which will naturally lead to plenty of speculation about whom the PTBNL will actually end up being.
Pittsburgh had a pair of 1st Round picks last June which they used to take outfielder Austin Meadows (#9 overall) and catcher Reese McGuire (#14). Neither is likely involved in this deal with New York. Parting with either to acquire Davis would just simply not make sense for the Pirates, as their potential far outweighs the production that Davis should bring to the table. Beyond that it’s tough to truly rule out any one particular name from among the Pirates’ 2013 draftees.
As for Thornton, the reliever has been pitching at Triple-A Indianapolis this season and has looked strong in a handful of outings. He’s thrown just 7.1 IP on the year, but has allowed just 7 hits, 1 walk, and has recorded 8 strikeouts thus far. He figures to give New York yet another potential bullpen arm at Triple-A. He was originally a 23rd Round pick by the Oakland Athletics in the 2010 Draft before joining the Pirates organization last May in return for Chris Resop.