Why the Mets need to extend Ike Davis this season

In a recent interview with New York Post columnists Mike Vaccaro and Mark Hale, Mets GM Sandy Alderson admitted that he would like to extend the contract of first baseman Ike Davis this season as opposed to letting the arbitration scenario play out over the next three years. Alderson says that the deal “has to work for both sides”.

It’s understandable that the team would like to sign Davis to a more Mets-advantageous deal, but the issue is that they may have to pay a little more than they may be willing to. Despite his .227 AVG last season, Davis had a break out season to follow up his rookie campaign of 2010. In that season, he belted 19 home runs and was well on his way to stardom. The following season was dramatically cut short by injury and questions surfaced whether or not he would rebound to form last season.

After 32 home runs, those doubters have been silenced. Now, the Mets expect big things from their big bat at first base. With those expectations come the rise in value. That value will pay Davis dividends at arbitration and the Mets know this. The problem comes when they attempt to low-ball him as they have in other negotiations with other players in the past. This is what creates the bad blood between player and management.

One only has to remember Jose Reyes and Scott Hairston to recognize that the team has created that bad blood in recent years. They have a reputation for offering much lower than market value for their players and it has only been more so under Alderson. If the Mets want to avoid this, they need to bring their price up to his value.

He is the protection in the lineup for their unnamed captain, David Wright. Without Davis, that lineup looks entirely different. The Mets must consider this and their already frail image and give him the fairest offer possible this season. For their sake, they must extend him this season and avoid that first arbitration next off season.

For their sake, they must give him an offer that is around what is comparable for what first basemen in the league are making. Looking around the National League, there are several players that are being paid considerably more than what Davis is worth, and yet, Davis is more valuable than they are. A case in point would be Carlos Lee who made $18 million last season and has only hit more home runs than Ike Davis did last year one time.

Lee has several seasons of 30 or more homers, but has only hit more than 32 one time when he smashed 37 in 2006. Granted, he has been around a lot longer and has earned a reputation for hitting home runs, but his average season stats are comparable to those of Davis.

Another example, and perhaps, a better one would be Joey Votto. He is set to make $17 million this upcoming season and is only four years older than Davis. Once, he hit more than 30 home runs and that was a total of 37 in 2010. Since then he has not reached the 30+ mark again. In just his second full season, Ike Davis did so.

It stands to reason that if Davis continues at the pace he is headed toward, he will be just as consistent, if not more so, than Votto. That would mean the Mets would owe Davis around the same type of salary in the next few seasons as Votto is making now. The Mets need to avoid this by making him a comparable, yet reasonable offer this season to lock him up for their future.

If they fail to do so, they will end up paying much more later than they are willing to offer now. To avoid this and to allow themselves some financial flexibility for signing other players down the line, this must get done in the next few months and at a pro-Davis type of deal, not a pro-Mets type of deal.

He has already shown his value and his game speaks volumes to that. His defense is the foundation of the infield and his offense is a testament to how good he could be. If Alderson is as savvy as he seems to be, a long-term investment on Ike Davis now will save his team in the long run. If they fail to do this now they will pay a hefty price later.

17 comments for “Why the Mets need to extend Ike Davis this season

  1. March 19, 2013 at 9:11 am

    While I do agree the Mets should make a fair offer to Ike, You as the writer need to a number that you think Ike should be paid. Joey Votto he’s not. Cannot compare Ike and Carlos Lee’s final year year of a contract. Makes no sense. What happens this coming season should dictate as to whether or not the Mets will sign Ike. What are fair numbers for the next three seasons? Is there someone out there comparable to Ike as a first base man who has similar numbers we can use as a guide?

    • Frank
      March 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Point taken Peter. The problem is, as Spencer said, the market will catch up to him. Let’s suppose he has a break out year. He will not settle for a $5 million per year contract based on a monster year.

      I compared Lee for the simple reason that Davis in his second full season has done nearly as much as Lee has done in a single season his entire career. The average season numbers for Lee are close (28 home runs, 95 RBI) to what Davis posted last year (32 home runs, 90 RBI).

      He is on pace to post Votto type numbers. So in that respect, yes, he is like Joey Votto, just a few years younger. If the Reds had the chance to see ahead of time what he would be making now, they would have signed him long-term for much cheaper before hand.

      That is the purpose of this article. The Mets must use that foresight and take a pro-active approach in his contract as opposed to how they have treated their players in the past.

      Personally, and this is just an opinion because you requested a number, I think they could extend him for $8 to $9 million a season and save themselves another $5 to $8 million per season in the long run.

      Thank you for the comment.

  2. March 19, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Might as well get him before the market catches up to him.

    • Frank
      March 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

      My point exactly Spencer. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. Brian
    March 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I agree that we should sign him long term but I am very interested to see what kind of start he gets off to this year. Obviously last year was very uneven at the plate and his defense seemed off from what I was expecting. I am hoping these issues were because of rust from not playing and also his illness. I just want to see the Ike that was there in 2010 before I settled on number representing his value.

  4. Frank
    March 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Brian, the second half Ike wouldn’t be bad either. I agree his start is everything this season for not only his contract but the success of the team. As he goes, they go. Wright will not have protection if he struggles and back end of the order will fold under the constant pressure of having to pick him up. He has to have the type of season we all know he can for this article to be proven prophetic. Thanks for the comment.

  5. jerseymet
    March 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    If Ike gets off to a good start and the Mets don’t; he could be trade bait in July.

    • NormE
      March 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Ike becomes even more attractive as trade bait if he is signed to a friendly long-term contract.
      I think the possibility of an Ike trade is small unless Duda discovers how to hit major league pitching on an consistent basis.
      Should that happen the Mets could use either Ike or Duda as the bait for an attractive outfielder or good young arm.
      However, my faith in Duda is not great, and I don’t believe that Ike will ever be as good an all-around hitter as Votto.

    • March 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      To jerseymet. Ike isn’t going anywhere regardless if he gets off to a hot start or not. Corner infielders who can hit 35 home runs and knock in 95-100 R.B.I.S a year are hard to find. His defensive play should be back to where it was in previous years. You just don’t trade players like that. You build around them.

      • Name
        March 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm

        I think that’s just frustration talking. When you’re losing and have little hope, you just feel like you wanna blow the whole team up and start over.
        I really wouldn’t be surprised to start hearing some Matt harvey trade rumors as early as next offseason. People always want someone fresh and the “next big thing” and they want change for the sake of change.

  6. HarryDoyle
    March 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Ike doesn’t even belong in the same conversation as Joey Votto. Ike first needs to prove he’s more than just a really good platoon player before the Mets offer him big money.

  7. Name
    March 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    “Looking around the National League, there are several players that are being paid considerably more than what Davis is worth, and yet, Davis is more valuable than they are”

    Davis is still arbitration-eligible, and that’s why he isn’t making much. It’s the way the system works. You get paid crap when you’re young, and overpaid when you’re old.

    That being said, you are comparing apples to oranges when you are looking at Carlos Lee’s 18 mil, which was is a free agent year, and Votto’s 17 mil, which is his 3rd year arbitration eligible year.
    However, that doesn’t mean it’s useless to use Votto’s contract as a reference. In 2011 Votto signed for 7.4 mil/9.5 mil/17 mil to cover his arbitration seasons. Now Votto was a far superior player to Ike as he was coming off a 2nd place ROY in 08, garnered a few MVP votes in 09 and won the MVP in 10. So there’s no way that Ike deserves more than what Votto got(and probably deserves a lot less).

    Interestingly enough, Ike’s best comps in my mind are Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt. There have been rumblings that Goldschmidt has been talking about an extension, and so either one of these players will pretty much set the precedent for the others.

  8. Joe Vasile
    March 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    It makes a lot of sense to lock up Davis now before he hits arbitration. Much like they did with Jon Niese last offseason, now could be the Mets’ last chance to lock Davis up at below market value. With the type of extensions that buy out a player’s arb years and maybe a year or two of free agency, the players usually end up taking a little less than market value in exchange for the job security and guaranteed money. Not saying Davis will necessarily follow in line with this, but a contract extension of about 4-5 years valued anywhere from $8-$12 million/year should not be totally out of the question in my opinion.

  9. March 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I would like to see one more season of Davis before considering a long-term deal because I don’t feel like we’ve seen enough of him. I want to see what he can do over an entire season (if he can stay healthy).

    I also agree that comparing him to Votto, who is an on-base machine, isn’t the best comparison. Ike has more power, but he doesn’t have the patience or the all-around game that Votto has.

  10. March 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I agree that they should wait until at least the end of this year before talking extension. Also, not sure it necessarily needs to be a “pro-Davis type of deal, not a pro-Mets type of deal.” I mean, the point for the Mets in all of this is to make a smart deal to save money. I think somewhere in the middle would be best, and more in line with what Joe stated above, Davis trades some dollars for security and the Mets lock him up for a while.

    • March 19, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      To Rob. Why should Ike trade dollars for security? What security? If he has another solid year then is value goes up. Why should he give up millions of dollars? If he goes to arbitration he’ll probably get 8-10 million dollars eventually. Just because the Wilpons are pinching pennies doesn’t mean their players have to give a hometown discount. What are they going to do? Threaten to trade him? I’m sure that will work!

  11. March 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I thought that’s the reason why the Fred Wilpon brought in Sandy. I’m tired of hearing all this talk about saving money when we are after all talking about a team not in some mid-west small market but rather the number one media market in the country. As of today the Mets payroll sits at 71 million dollars. Add 15 minimum salaried players and that brings the total to 80 million. Can you imagine the Mets will be out spent by teams like Arizona and Baltimore. There are no excuses unless the team is truly broke. To say they doesn’t have the financial resources to sign their key players is just Sandy’s way of negotiating down salaries. Management has already won this media battle. They have all of us talking about being patient

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