It was inevitable that the left-handed first baseman would be out of Pittsburgh. Pirates first baseman Travis Ishikawa was designated for assignment Friday. After clearing waivers on Wednesday, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, he was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis by Pittsburgh. Since he had been outrighted to the minors previously before, he had the option of rejecting the minor league assignment in favor of another opportunity with another major-league team by electing free agency. As expected, Ishikawa rejected his assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis and elected free agency, sources tell Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors.
Ishikawa was platooning over at first base as a left-handed hitter with Gaby Sanchez. He realized that his time with Pittsburgh had come to an end when the Pirates had acquired first baseman Ike Davis from the Mets in exchange for minor league prospect Zach Thornton and a player to be named later. The player to be named later will likely be determined after the 2014 First Year Player’s Draft in June, because the PTBNL will most likely be a player from last year’s draft of high caliber.
Ike Davis is a major upgrade over Travis Ishikawa. The Pirates had been previously rumored to be looking to acquire the first baseman, but went with Ishikawa to start the season. Through the first six games of the season, Ishikawa batted .294 with one home run and three runs batted in. In his next nine games, however, Ishikawa had only two hits in seventeen at-bats as his average fell to a low .206 on the 2014 season. Ishikawa is a lifetime .257/.321/.397 hitter, which has made him a prime candidate to being a platoon first baseman.