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.