Simple trade trends may aid in sending Ike Davis packing

TrendsWell, it took a little while, but the offseason looks to be officially on its way due to the upstart activity running rapid amongst numerous ball clubs.  Per numerous reports, the Mets are spending the majority of their attention on signing OF Curtis Granderson.  While free agency has served to be accessible for teams looking to upgrade or fill their roster, a few less headlining trades have proved to be revealing of a trend for the smaller market teams.

The one for one, or two for one trades have surfaced this week in MLB.  The Oakland Athletics, in particular, have made a couple of swaps to bolster their already talented bullpen.  Last week, Oakland traded minor leaguer John Wooten to Washington for left-handed reliever Fernando Abad.   This week, they traded second baseman Jemile Weeks to Baltimore for All-Star closer Jim Johnson followed by a trade that sent outfielder Seth Smith to San Diego for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson.   While these trades upgrade an already apparent strength for Oakland, they also highlight the importance of a general manger, in this case Billy Beane, being able to identify the needs of other teams thus making a trade possible.  For Mets fans, one way to look at these trades would be that one team’s trash is another team’s treasure.

The smaller scale nature of these straight up trades could be something Mets GM Sandy Alderson should be exploring very soon as opposed to the multi-player, “blockbuster” type trades. With the signing of Chris Young, and pursuit of Granderson, its clear Lucas Duda’s days in the outfield are definitely a thing of the past.   It’s unclear if Alderson will pursue a first baseman outside of the organization, but it’s becoming apparent that Duda and Ike Davis will not co-exist on the roster come opening day.  Lately, many reports have surfaced of teams “checking in” regarding Davis’ availability and while there hasn’t been a declaration of a starting first baseman for 2014, it does seem the organization is looking to move the former first round pick.  So is there a team out there who sees value in Davis enough to return the Mets a useful and productive player?  Well, if Weeks and Smith can return Johnson and Gregerson, you would have to assume so.   Let’s also not ignore another trade Houston made this week which spun Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes into Dexter Fowler.  Davis’ 2012 season, at least the second half, showed what kind of assets he can bring to a lineup; the early parts of the last two seasons showed his glaring liabilities.  Perception is everything and although many Mets fans see Davis as a complete failure, other teams might see an opportunity to snag a promising player coming off a bad year.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

So if the Mets are going to move on from Davis, perhaps there is a match to be made in a trade; much like the ones Beane sought out the past two weeks.   If the Mets land a big outfield bat like Granderson, the most obvious scenario is to make a swap for a shortstop while finding a team with a need for a power first baseman like Davis.  It would also make sense to look for a team with a relative surplus at the shortstop position.   Arizona, Cleveland, and the Chicago Cubs have top prospects at shortstop ready to bump the incumbent, however, have little need for first basemen.  Cleveland could theoretically move Nick Swisher to DH, but Mets would have to take on a 2014 contract for Asdrubal Cabrera that pays $10 million, a number that might strangle their budget parameters.

Through the looking glass the other way, teams like Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay have glaring vacancies at first base as a result of Justin Morneau and James Loney becoming free agents.  They are also two teams who keep low payrolls and would be willing to take on a relatively inexpensive player like Davis.  The Rays’ Yunel Escobar or Pirates’ Jordy Mercer would be the reciprocal in the “straight up” swap; two players who would definitely serve as upgrades offensively, and in the case of Escobar, defensively.

Mercer, 27, in his first full season batted .285 with 8 HR and 27 RBIs in 333 AB, including a two HR game against the Mets on May 11.  Escobar, 31, has five million on his contract for next year with a team option of the same amount for 2015. Last year with Tampa Bay, he batted .256 with 9 HR and 56 RBIs.  They both, on paper, appear to be good matches for Mets in a trade due to low risk and contract constraints.  A move has to be made regarding Davis, despite the fact that his value has never been lower.  If shortstops are not there for a swap, perhaps a veteran arm for the bullpen or back of the rotation could emerge.  With the winter meetings coming up next week, don’t be surprised to see the Mets do some of their own wheeling and dealing, hopefully with happy returns.

32 comments for “Simple trade trends may aid in sending Ike Davis packing

  1. December 6, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I would guess that SA is not willing to “give” Ike Davis away. Isn’t Ike the type of player Sandy looks for on other teams? Low value, potential turnaround? So why not wait and see what shortstop he has in mind for the Mets for 2014. I just have a feeling the Mets will trade for a shortstop rather than sign a free agent. Just a thought. Maybe teams are waiting for the price to drop on Davis? Simple trades are not so easy when we place a tag of potential on a player. Reality is we over value our own players. The fact that Davis is still here speaks volumes.

  2. Steve S.
    December 6, 2013 at 8:35 am

    If Granderson is signed, the outfield will be him, Lagares, and Chris Young. There still no leadoff hitter, so unless the Mets acquire a shortstop guy who can lead off, Murphy is likely to be traded, with Eric Young moving to second base. It would also free up more money. Am I missing anything?

    • Robby
      December 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

      What not put Eric Young at short. Mets love putting guys of of position anyway.

      • December 6, 2013 at 11:34 am

        Eric Young should have seen the writing on the wall and volunteered to go to Winter Ball with the express idea of playing SS.

        • Metsense
          December 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm

          Brian, what do you base this on? An interesting thought if feasable.

          • December 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm

            When the season ended, Lagares seemed a lock for one OF spot. Another OF spot figured to be used on someone capable of hitting 30 HR. When they signed Chris Young – that made a starting OF spot for Eric Young extremely unlikely.

            Now 2B is his natural position but the Mets have that covered with Murphy. Even if they trade Murphy, Wilmer Flores is likely to slot in there to start the year. Tejada is a possibility there, too, if they acquire a SS.

            Young still has a chance at 300 ABs as a super sub but if his goal was to be a starter, he needed to give SS a whirl. It might be nothing more than a pipe dream but it seems to give him his best shot as a starter, unless Lagares’ knee injury turns out to be serious. Even with that, you would assume he would be in a battle with MDD for a spot.

            • Steve S.
              December 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

              We still need a leadoff hitter–either a new SS or Eric Young at 2B, with Murphy traded.

              • Steve S.
                December 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

                Otherwise, we’re looking at Lagares, with his .281 OBP, leading off!

                • Sean Flattery
                  December 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm

                  EY is gonna play alot more this year than people think.

            • TJ
              December 7, 2013 at 12:09 am

              EYjr doesn’t have the arm for SS.

  3. Les Gomez
    December 6, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I can’t believe that so many Met fans want to dump Ike. He is 27, plays above average defense and has a 32 home run season under his belt. If he played for any other team, he would be exactly the type of reclamation project we’d want to acquire.

    Considering his power and how rare power hitters are becoming, I can’t believe Sandy would even consider dealing him now. Is it hard to imagine a .350 OBP, 30 HR season from him as he enters the prime of his career?

    • Jerry Grote
      December 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Out of his last nearly 1000 plate appearances, he’s hitting .227 and that includes his 32 HR season.

      Out of those 1000 plate appearances, nearly half of them represent an OPS that might be less than 600. Defensive metrics are hard, but I don’t find any indication that he is “above average”. In fact, he seems to be considerably below average and that is confirmed by my “eye test”.

      And opposing this, you have an alternative that costs less on the squad that reasonably approaches his abilities … without the wild variations in returns.

      That sums it up for me.

      • eraff
        December 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

        Other than the Broadcast team “shilling” Ike’s Defensive Prowess, I join you in “missing it”. He’s a capable 1st Baseman….. he carries his bat onto the field with him and tends to make many physical and mental mistakes when he’s slumping offensively. Otherwise, he has little range but seems to have capable hands….. a Pedetrian+ Defensive Player

      • December 8, 2013 at 1:53 am

        4 million as opposed to 1 million. That sums it up for me.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      Davis or Duda has to go. There’s no sense in keeping both players. It’s more about maximizing value, which you can’t do having one sit on the bench.

  4. Jerry Grote
    December 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Sean, to use your own phrases … does Pittsburg see Jordy Mercer, a 2 WAR rookie at the all important SS position, as “trash”?

    And if the Rays trade Escobar, who takes his place?

    I try to convince myself an awful lot that the Mets can pull off a trade for a SS, and have a hard time making myself believe another team wants to give up what we want.

    I wind up with the Cubs, the Diamondbacks, and the Indians as teams that have the capacity to move a SS within their organizational depth. None of those teams really need Ike Davis, so unless you get involved in a three way, I don’t see Davis getting traded for a SS.

    Shocker, huh?

    • December 6, 2013 at 9:17 am

      But the Cubs already have Rizzo as their first base man? Once arbitration is done and Ike has a 4 million dollar price tag, it’s going to be that much harder to complete a trade unless he’s part of a package on the back end. Does Pittsburgh see Ike as a worthy investment at 4 million dollars? Tampa will probably re-sign Loney so where does that leave the Mets?

      • Jerry Grote
        December 6, 2013 at 10:09 am

        Well … exactly. The Cubs have Rizzo, the Backs have Goldschmidt, the Indians have Swisher. Why would any of those teams want Davis?

        The Pirates won’t part with Mercer without a replacement, and the Rays won’t part with Yunel without a replacement. They might want Davis, but they won’t want to part with their SS.

        For Davis to be traded, we’ll have to be involved in some sort of complicated three way with two different SSs being traded. It’s just not very plausible.

        • December 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

          I’m getting a headache just from reading your response. Not so simple to trade Ike. A 3 way deal is even more complicated. I still say package him with Murphy, and 2 more players(you decide) for CarGo. Sign Choo for right field and away we go.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 6, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Well, if you read the article in depth you would see I mentioned those very teams you listed and how they do not need a first baseman..So Agreed!

      As for TB, they have a shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee who they received in the Matt Garza trade who they are ready to promote.

      As for Pitt, the term “trash” should be considered in context with the analogy, not a slight on Mercer but more as reflection on the Mets perspective with Ike. Pitt needs offense with Byrd and Morneau departing, Ike’s upside for a low price I would think would intrigue Pitt’s front office.

      • December 6, 2013 at 11:07 am

        I don’t think the Pirates front office can afford to take a flier on Ike. Too much depends on him being able to turn it around. And if he doesn’t? The fans will let them know. The Pirates are moving forward and cannot risk any questionable moves that might stagnate their offense.

        • Sean Flattery
          December 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

          Someone has to play first base. I hope the fans like Gaby Sanchez

          • December 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

            Do you remember the Tyde Bowl man paddling in a row boat in the toilet tank? That’s the feeling I get and with each passing day.I feel the owners should join him when we flush our toilet.

  5. Les Gomez
    December 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

    If we go with Ike at 1B, EY at 2B and sign Granderson to complete our OF, that would leave Duda, Murphy and Montero as our top trade chips (that we’d be willing to part with). There has to be a way to pry a decent SS from somewhere with those pieces. Montero to Arizona for either of their two young SS is a start. Duda and Tejada to the Rays for Escobar may be another option. Maybe a package including Duda and Montero can land Lowrie. This is where Sandy has to get creative and earn his paycheck.

    • Old Dude
      December 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      I proposed Montero for Owings last week and was told it was too much to give up, and another reply saying Montero wasn’t enough. So I don’t know if I’m overrating or underrating Montero.

      • December 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        Too much. A potential stud pitcher for an average infielder.

  6. amazin
    December 6, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Duda and Tejada? That package won’t bring much back. A utility infielder maybe, a hard throwing set-up guy?

  7. Metsense
    December 6, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Escobar is a $5M SS for the next two years. Why would the Rays take on Davis and Tejada at the same price?
    Mercer isn’t a free agent until 2019 so Pirates would keep that low cost before taking a chance on Ike.
    The Indians on the other hand could trade the $10M Cabrera who they only control for 1 year for Davis and Tejada and move Swisher to RF and save $5M which might be appealing to them. Basically a salary dump for the Indians and they have a prospect waiting in the wings in Lindor. With Davis $4M and Tejada $1M it only costs the Mets a budget increase of $5M which is within their budget. Indians get 2 major league (?) players instead of nothing for Cabrera at the end of the season. The Indians might do it.

    • December 8, 2013 at 2:17 am

      Now that they’ve signed Granderson I don’t think this deal works due to budget constraints.

      • Metsense
        December 8, 2013 at 8:37 am

        The Mets still have $12M to spend.
        Sandy should be able to pick up a SS for that price but the trick will be not giving away the “farm”.

        • December 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

          Mets payroll last year was 81 million plus 8-9 million for benefits. Bay deferred 12 million over the next 2 seasons. Currently that put’s the payroll at 53.3 million which includes 6 million for Bay. Signings for Arbitration players will add another 20-23 million dollars. Say 74 million dollars total for 11 players? Filling of the remaining roster spots minimum 13 players? 7 million? So don’t be shocked if the payroll stays the same or slightly higher than 2012. I gave you a total for 24 players. Leaving room for 1 additional FA signing. So we’ll see. Hopefully we wont be disappointed.

  8. December 6, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Question is will the Mets do it?

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