Does Aoki deal prove that Ike Davis has no trade value?

News came down today that the Brewers traded potential Mets-target Norichika Aoki to the Royals for Will Smith, who apparently gave up a career in the movies in order to be a solid lefty reliever in Kansas City last year.

Ike DavisThis move prompted reader Jerry Grote to make a detailed post about how the Mets were overvaluing Ike Davis, as the Brewers allegedly turned down a Davis-Aoki swap. The post was a cold bucket of water thrown on Mets fans and gave a glimpse of how hard things must be for Alderson in the trade market when one of his primary assets seemingly has very little value.

But let’s take a look and see if things are really this bleak.

First off, let’s agree that the Mets offered the Davis-Aoki swap and the Brewers turned them down. While we have no way of knowing if that was indeed the case, it seems reasonable enough. So, why would the Brewers, a team admittedly in the market for a lefty-hitting first baseman with power, pass on this deal?

Aoki is owed just under $2 million in 2014 and then hits arbitration for the first time the following year. It’s a great contract for a guy who put up a combined 4.2 fWAR in the 2012-13 seasons. Yet Milwaukee dumped him for a middle reliever. While it’s true that they were looking to open a spot in the outfield for Khris Davis, it’s hard not to notice that he was dealt for someone making minimum wage.

Did the Brewers object to Davis’ expected level of production or his expected salary level? Estimating arbitration salaries is hardly an exact science but most reports have Davis earning in the neighborhood of $4 million in 2014. Since they traded a $2 million player for a $500,000 player, it’s very reasonable to assume that salary played a significant role in their evaluation.

The follow-up question is if Alderson offered to include money to even up the deal. Would Davis and $3.5 million have been enough for the Brewers to bite? My guess is yes. So, why didn’t Alderson offer that deal? He included money in both the Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez deals, so we know he’s not opposed to this kind of deal.

It seems that Alderson thought that Davis had more trade value than that.

It is important to note that these Davis-Aoki rumors were popular in early to mid-November, before the Mets acquired Chris Young. The signing of Young would appear to have squashed any interest the Mets had in Aoki. While he would have been a nice improvement in the leadoff spot, it seems unlikely that the Mets would have an outfield consisting of three potential center fielders and ones who combined to hit just 24 HR in 2013.

The company line is that the Mets still have money to spend and smart money has them using it on an outfielder who can deliver over the fence power.

Allegedly, the Mets had several teams express interest when they floated Davis’ name. It’s one thing to express interest and another thing to offer a reasonable package in return. Perhaps Alderson was interested in Aoki primarily to be rid of Davis and a distant second with Aoki’s OBP skills. Alderson seems willing to pay for power but has yet to pay – either cash or significant lip service – for OBP.

Right now all we can do is speculate. My speculation is that Alderson believes he can use Davis to bring in a HR bat. Since he was going to acquire two outfielders anyway, he was willing to make Aoki one of them because of the cash savings he would produce. But when those savings didn’t materialize, he decided to keep Davis for another deal.

If that’s the case, Alderson determined that Young at $7.25 million was better than Aoki at $5.5 million (salary plus what the Mets would have had to kick in for Milwaukee). That seems very questionable on the surface. The way it potentially makes sense is that Young plus Davis, with Davis bringing back something better, made the Mets a superior team.

Time will tell. Trades and the groundwork for trades are one of the keystones of the Winter Meetings. If the end of January comes and the Mets still have Davis then it will be an appropriate time to gnash teeth. There’s still a chance for a trade on February 1st, but it’s much less likely for a blockbuster deal to occur once teams are focused on Spring Training.

Alderson has done well in the past with trades by being patient. Let’s see if that method serves him well again. My hunch still is that Davis is not on the Opening Day roster for the Mets. Let’s hope it’s because Alderson knows the market is there and is playing his hand correctly. It seems he’s earned the benefit of the doubt in this regard.

At the same time, let’s not completely dismiss the possibility he has no trade value, either.

22 comments for “Does Aoki deal prove that Ike Davis has no trade value?

  1. December 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    When did anyone believe that Davis had significant trade value?

    • December 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      I didn’t think Davis by himself had great trade value but rather that he was going to be included in any deal to acquire an impact bat. He would not be the main piece but the possibility he would deliver 30 HR would be worth something to a team giving up a more proven power hitter.

  2. royhobbs7
    December 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    The Mets need to keep Davis. He will once again find his bat by 2015; his upside vs. Duda’s is better.

  3. December 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    It seems he would really only have value to a team that is willing to gamble on him turning out like that other Davis who benefited from a change of scenery. That gamble, however, has to take into account salary. When Chris Davis was traded to the Orioles he was a league minimum player. Ike Davis is going to make $4 million coming off a bad year. That doesn’t really seem to match something a team like the Brewers would do.

    In all honesty, I think it’s a combination of the factors you talked about. I think Ike Davis absolutely does have trade value. He’s proven he can hit 30+ homers at the major league level and is still relatively young. It might not be as much as some fans thought (hoped), but it’s there.

  4. December 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Also, I’m really starting to wonder if the Mets’ organizational hitting philosophy is screwing with Davis. HoJo seemed to seemed to hint at it earlier this week.

  5. Chris F
    December 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Davis has no trade value for an every day major leaguer. Last year I was in the non-tender camp and sad we are still carrying his weight. Should we be paying $3M for him come April, well, we will know Alderson has a mixed hand of number cards and a couple blue chips to play “poker” with.

    This team will only progress with new personnel. It may mean cutting, promoting, getting FAs and trading just about every person on the team to get there. Any team with Duda, Davis, Murphy, Satin, Tejada, Youngx2, Lagares and company is destined to lose 90 games. Im not advocating a complete burn, but the fact is a majority of those people as starters is a recipe for failure.

    I question the owners, the FO, the baseball “philosophy” of the FO, the “plan” and just about every part of how this team runs.

    • Name
      December 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Why are people completely ignoring pitching when evaluating the team? It seems like most people only focus on the offense, and if they don’t see an overpriced big name veteran whose jersey they would be willing to wear in public and they go into whine mode.

      Everyone is willing to say “pitching wins championships” (and it does) but no one ever believes it when it comes to crunch time.

      • Chris F
        December 5, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        Two words Name: Matt Harvey

        • Name
          December 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm

          I don’t get it. Explain please?

          • Chris F
            December 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm

            The best arm we got, and what we gave the guy is a long string of no decisions. I’m a huge believer of pitching wins and a strong spine up the middle is key, but the plain fact is we need more offense to capitalize on our pitching. I think the present group as affable as they all are, simply has a black cloud of failing to rise to the occasion. It’s time to make new connections.

            • Name
              December 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm

              Two Word for you Chris: Zack Wheeler. He “won” 7 games this year despite only posting 10 QS in 17 tries.

              Looking at any one pitcher’s record and characterizing the offensive is wrong. Before Wright got injured this year, the Mets were 6th in Runs scored. They actually got up to 5th in the middle of August but by the time they traded Byrd, they were down to tied for 7th with 3 other teams. September was a complete disaster for our call-ups and we fell to 11th overall in runs scored.

              The offense last year wasn’t as big of a problem as people thought, and likely won’t be as dire as you are predicting to be for next year.

  6. Scott Ferguson
    December 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Read that the Brewers always wanted pitching for Aoki.
    Davis will be traded, most likely to the Rays.

    • Metsense
      December 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      If Davis for Joyce is a possibility then what is Sandy waiting for? 20 HR potential, .340 career OBP arnd a career .796 OPS. I don’t think the Rays take it straight up but adding a single A or AA pitching prospect or two might do the trick.
      Imagine an OF of Joyce – C Young – Granderson , all with 20HR potential and decent OBP’s, better than average defense and it leaves the Mets with one offensive hole – Tejada at SS. But maybe JG is right and Davis has no trade value and it isn’ t a possibility. Maybe that is why this trade hasn’t happened.

      • Jerry Grote
        December 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm

        Granderson is NOT a “decent” OBP.


        That’s what you’d call ….. an outlier.

  7. eraff
    December 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    With the inflated pricing, Davis is a cheap flyer for most folks….. and I’ve evolved toward thinking, “Waht the Heck”—give him another spin.

    My fear is that the Mets may view a 3.5-4 million salary as a guy who cannot be platooned or jettisoned if he doesn’t perform. 100-300 ab’s to fish or cut bait…… ???

  8. AJ
    December 5, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    It’s a sobering indication of how out of wack the money side of sports has become that a player who produced what Ike Davis did last season should be considered worthy of an upgrade to more than $4 million. Good luck to Alderson finding a taker who will part with a player of any real value in return. If he can he deserves a lot of credit.

  9. December 5, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    But if Ike has no trade value then there is no point in dumping him and his 4 million dollar salary since the team may have to eat half of it. The team is better off holding on to him and if he returns to his previous years form of being able to hit home runs then you can you move him. So why didn’t Alderson offer someone with the salary the Brewers were looking for and still get Aoki?

  10. Jerry Grote
    December 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I think we are seeing now the value of Ike Davis:

    A 24 year old reliever, that hasn’t shown really anything at the ML level. He was never really a match with Joyce, or Aoki.

    Sandy is known for being stubborn in his valuations of his own players. He simply won’t bend, once its set and that mindset has brought us Thor and Wheeler. It meant that we saw Reyes leave with nothing in return.

    I think we’ll see nearly the same for Ike.

    • Name
      December 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Reports are the M’s just signed Corey hart. Kinda throws the 3-way deal i had out of whack but now does give us a greater possibility of trading Ike to the Brewers.
      Thornburg was rated the #2 prospect after 2012 season and i thought he looked really filthy when the Mets faced the Brewers. Brewer fans probably see him in the same light as we do Montero. I’d consider it a steal if we could get him (but then again i’m one of the biggest Ike haters)

      • Jerry Grote
        December 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm

        And beyond that the Ms signed Logan Morrison too. Wierd, completely.

        Yeah, I mis-valued Thornburg. Brewers GM just yesterday said Thornburg would be their #5 pitcher (and somewhere, that he turned down the Mets flat).

        My guess, Loney gets signed by Brewers and the Mets cycle back to Rays or the Pirates.

        • Name
          December 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

          It looks like they are going to have to rely on one of Hart/LoMo to play the OF and seem to have given up on Montero contributing in 2013. It’s been one questionable move after another for that team.

    • Chris F
      December 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Well, I’d be happy to get the Brewer mascot as a buddy for Mr Met and a case of MGD for Ike. That may be asking too much.

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