Ike Davis On The Trading Block?

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The New York Mets are reportedly open to trading Ike Davis. Why now?

If you'll remember, Ike Davis started this season in a slump. It was something worse than a slump. It was a bold new vision for just how bad slumps could be. On June 5, Davis struck out three times, bringing his season line to .160/.226/.274. He looked like a broken player, a clock radio dropped from six stories up. It was impossible to know which piece to pick up first.

With two weeks left in the season, though, his season line isn't that bad. It's not good! But it's not nearly as wretched as it could have been after the first two months. He has 27 home runs (good), 54 walks in 529 plate appearances (okay), and a .223 batting average (peñastic). Batting average is always subject to wild variance, so that isn't too much of a concern.

Since that OPS low point of June 5, Ike Davis has hit .260/.345/.544, with 22 homers in 296 at-bats. Now, you can't just pretend April and May didn't happen, but the stats for the last three-plus months seem like they belong to the player everyone was expecting. At least, the player everyone was expecting with a power spike.

That's the story of Ike Davis's weird 2012, and it should probably end here. Player was slumping, player fought through adversity, player trained in a montage, and player rebounded. See you next year. But there's a little more to the Ike Davis story:

The Mets will consider trading Ike Davis this offseason as a way to upgrade other areas of the team and open a spot for Lucas Duda at his natural position, a baseball source told ESPNNewYork.com.

What a weird time to consider trading Ike Davis. It's not as if his value is at its lowest -- that would have been the beginning of June -- but he's not stable enough to bring back a bushel of prospects. Even when you consider that Davis is under contract through the 2016 season, it's hard to imagine another GM handing over top prospects under the specter of early-season Ike. And if the Mets aren't going to get top prospects for Davis, what's the point?

Apparently the point is that Duda can't play the outfield:


One play does not a defensive reputation make, but there are more out there if you want to look. You don't. It's always a good idea to be careful with single-season fielding stats, but Duda has been worth -18.9 runs in the field according to FanGraphs. That makes him the worst fielder in baseball, and he's played about 35 fewer games than the next player on the list. It's a sack race in right field, and Duda's the only one running it.

So the Mets have three options: put up with Duda's defense, sit Duda or Davis, or trade one of the two. The defense is untenable. Sitting Duda and making him a bat off the bench might be an option, but that seems like a waste of potential.

Getting three quarters on the dollar for Davis might be preferable to sitting Duda, but I'm not convinced. Convince me, Mets!

Although (Davis) is personable and by no means a troublemaker, they also worry -- fairly or unfairly -- he is out too late after games, and that could influence other young players.

Well, that doesn't convince me. But I'm also one of the dinks who didn't think Yunel Escobar's personality was a big deal, which meant the Braves were goofy for trading him. Maybe there is something to the carousing of one Ike Davis. Maybe he did go to Pat Burrell Finishing School, where pants are not a part of the standard-issue uniform.

That still doesn't mean the Mets will get value back for him. The potential is an above-average first baseman for the next four years. The downside is a player who can spiral quickly and go through prolonged slumps. Teams will be interested in the first part. The fear of the second part is why they'll keep their best prospects. Which means either Davis doesn't get traded, or the Mets like Duda's bat way, way more than most of us do.

This is a sample of the kind of nuttiness we'll have to wade through in December. For this offseason, though, I wouldn't expect Davis to go anywhere. The timing isn't right at all.

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