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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Calcaterra: The Mets are not screwing around with Ike Davis this spring

First and foremost: first base. Where Lucas Duda and Ike Davis are set to battle it out. It sounds like it’ll be a good battle.

Collins says it’s “wide open” and makes it clear that there won’t be a lot of hemming and hawing. Davis is going to get 90 at bats — way more than a veteran usually has in the spring — and it seems obvious that if he doesn’t produce he’s basically done as a Met.

That’s tough on Davis and Duda I suppose, but it may be good for Mets fans.

What could possibly go wrong?

Lassus Posted: February 04, 2014 at 08:30 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cthulhu

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   1. bobm Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:15 AM (#4651862)
From the original Kernan article (http://nypost.com/2014/02/03/mets-look-to-clear-up-ike-davis-situation-quickly/)

“If the two guys at first get off to a slow start, we have [Murphy] to play first base with Eric Young at second,’’ Collins said. “We have options.’’

Spring training also will be a proving ground to see whether Young can be the leadoff hitter and how the outfield will shape up, especially center field. There is a possibility Collins may go with an outfield where four players share three positions or the Mets could ship Juan Lagares to the minors.

Going into camp, Lagares is the starting center fielder.

Chris Young could be the center fielder or he could wind up in right with the other new Met Curtis Granderson in left.
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:26 AM (#4651864)
Making roster decisions based on a couple of hand fulls of spring training at bats? What could go wrong?
   3. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:50 AM (#4651865)
Collins says it’s “wide open” and makes it clear that there won’t be a lot of hemming and hawing. Davis is going to get 90 at bats — way more than a veteran usually has in the spring — and it seems obvious that if he doesn’t produce he’s basically done as a Met.

If this is true, it's really stupid. Even last year, Davis put up an OBP-heavy sOPS+ of 98 against RHPs. Over the course of his career, he's 2/3 of an above average 1B and he's only entering his age-27 season.

If you really want to go with Duda instead of Davis because Davis has better trade value, that's fine. If you're going with Duda because Davis had a bad 90 PAs, that's not fine. And neither is being willing to abandon whichever one you do hold onto in place of Eric Young if they start off slowly.

I just assumed they were planning on using a platoon at 1B, but this article makes no mention of that. If Collins thinks that he has an everyday 1B on his roster and/or that Davis needs 90 spring training PAs to show what kind of role he should have, Alderson better give him a call and disavow him of those notions.

This very brief article annoyed me as much as any non-Wilpon tidbit I've read about the Mets in the Alderson era.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 05, 2014 at 05:21 AM (#4651873)
I'm sure they won't just look at raw numbers, they'll think about how he actually looks playing, right?
   5. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: February 05, 2014 at 05:44 AM (#4651875)
Each of the last 3 years, Ike has had 90 PA stretches where he played like an all-star and 90 PA stretches where he struggled to OPS .500. I wouldn't read much into 90 PAs of any player, but especially not Davis.
   6. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 06:22 AM (#4651878)
This sounds very specifically as though they ARE screwing around with Ike Davis.
   7. Elvis Posted: February 05, 2014 at 07:59 AM (#4651881)
Player A -- 114 OPS in 1,282 PA
Player B -- 112 OPS in 1,711 PA

I have no issue if the Mets open up the 1B battle to these two and give the winner the job (or the bigger half of a platoon with Satin) and send the loser to Triple-A.

One can argue that Davis has more upside because of what he did in the second half of 2012. You can also argue that Duda has more upside because he's never had the chance to play his natural position.

I wish they would just put Duda at first and leave him alone. They've jerked him around so much and it would be nice to see him get 500+ PA in a season where he played his natural position.
   8. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:16 AM (#4651883)
I think better wording would be that first is Duda's least unnatural position.
   9. formerly dp Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:30 AM (#4651885)
This sounds very specifically as though they ARE screwing around with Ike Davis.
That was my response too. And screwing with Murphy, too-- he's proven he can handle 2B; unless the 2B you're replacing him with can be at *more* valuable than the 1B you're bumping from the lineup, it's really a bad idea. I don't know if this is just tough talk to try to motivate everyone to play their best, but Young is not someone you shift people around to get into the lineup. I'm all for creative solutions to problems, and pushing people who need it to play their best. This seems to be the Mets dealing with a mess of their own making-- by not finding a trading partner over the winter, they stuck themselves with two redundant/very similar players.

Of course, there's a long way between now and April, so it's entirely possible that an injury on another team creates a home for Davis/Duda.
   10. Lassus Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4651889)
Thirding the notion, I do wish that Craig had cut out the "not" in that headline.
   11. billyshears Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4651896)
Some players are insignificant enough that the team is entitled to screw with them (see Mark Sanchez). You don't #### with your top prospect in spring training, or ask David Wright to try switch hitting for shits and giggles, but if you have two fringe MLB players competing for a job, I see nothing wrong with asking one of them to win it. I have a slight preference for Davis, because it seems like he may be the only one who could be a legitimately above average 1b, but he has spent way too significant a portion of the past two seasons being absolutely terrible to be entitled to any rope. If he or Duda wants the job, they should come to spring training and knock the cover off the ball.
   12. formerly dp Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:20 AM (#4651899)
If he or Duda wants the job, they should come to spring training and knock the cover off the ball.
But why drag Murphy into it, unless you've told him "don't worry, we're just messing with Duda/Davis-- you're gonna be our guy at second, we're not bumping you for Eric F. Young".
   13. Lassus Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4651902)
I will admit that I find #11 slightly compelling. I guess the screwing with part is announcing it so vociferously to the world. Why you couldn't tell Duda and Davis that yourself and let it come out some other way is probably just me not understanding how this media thing works. Or something.
   14. billyshears Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4651906)
But why drag Murphy into it,


I agree with this - leave Murphy alone for now.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4651959)
I think you guys are misreading the title. "Not screwing around with Davis" doesn't mean that they are being sensitive, consistent bosses. It means that they are not putting up with any more crap. It means they are giving him a clear, unambiguous message: you hit or you're nothing to us.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4652017)
I don't think any other team would handle this differently.

Davis just has not earned being given a starting role, He's had entire half-seasons of complete suckitude.

Any manager in the world would make him win the job.
   17. KT's Pot Arb Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4652023)
I think better wording would be that first is Duda's least unnatural position.


Primey, mother-######!

I think you guys are misreading the title. "Not screwing around with Davis" doesn't mean that they are being sensitive, consistent bosses. It means that they are not putting up with any more crap. It means they are giving him a clear, unambiguous message: you hit or you're nothing to us.


I think you misread the title, it actually means we aren't screwing around with Davis as a whole, we are just ####### with his tiny little head.

   18. dlf Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4652024)
I don't think any other team would handle this differently.


Lots of other clubs would let the two battle for the position in ST, but most of the well run clubs would keep that information in-house. The best clubs virtually never use the media to belittle a player's past or expected performance.
   19. Srul Itza Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4652054)
The Mets serve as a wonderful paradigm of the "bad example." Front offices everywhere should study their operations, so that they know what NOT to do.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4652113)
Lots of other clubs would let the two battle for the position in ST, but most of the well run clubs would keep that information in-house. The best clubs virtually never use the media to belittle a player's past or expected performance.

Really? It seems to me that teams declare positions "open" or say "X is our guy", all the time.
   21. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 05, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4652224)
Really? It seems to me that teams declare positions "open" or say "X is our guy", all the time.


The Red Sox basically did this with LF last year, and it wound up pretty much as a platoonish job share. The role of 5th starter seems like it's "open" more often than not on most teams.
   22. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 05, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4652229)
Making roster decisions based on a couple of hand fulls of spring training at bats? What could go wrong?


This would be a reasonable critique if 2013 hadn't happened. Ike Davis has had more than a few Spring Training at bats. He's been miserable outside of one hot streak to close 2012. I love Mets punching as much as anyone, but honestly, WTF else should they do?

"You two marginal 1B types; yeah, the one who crashed and burned like the Hindenburg last year, and you, the guy who makes a mockery of defense while having a Sloppy Joe at the after game buffet; both of you kind of suck, but you're what we have, so get out there and play your asses off, because one of you is probably going to get cut at the end of this debacle."
   23. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 05, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4652306)
He's been miserable outside of one hot streak to close 2012.


That's not true, he's had other hot streaks, April 2011 for instance, September 2010, August 2013.

The trouble is that he's all streak all the time
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4652313)
That's not true, he's had other hot streaks, April 2011 for instance, September 2010, August 2013.

The trouble is that he's all streak all the time


The problem is that in the last 2 seasons he's played, he's had a multi-month streak where he was far, far below replacement level.
2012 Mar/Apr 55 OPS+, May 36 OPS+
2013 Mar/Apr 63 OPS+, May 14, June 47

No team can carry a staring player who is an automatic out for months at a time.
   25. formerly dp Posted: February 05, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4652318)
No team can carry a staring player who is an automatic out for months at a time.
Especially at 1B.

I don't disagree with making him win the job, but I do disagree with the idea that it's such a wide-open battle they'll play Eric Young at 2B if Duda and Davis both have bad springs. Why mess with Murphy, especially when they should know Eric Young isn't anything resembling a long-term solution at 2B, and Murphy's bat doesn't play well at 1B?

Edit: and I know the easy answer is "because Mets," but it's February, so we get to pretend things are going to go differently this year, at least until the real games start.

Edit #2: I would be down with moving Murphy to 1B and committing to Flores at 2B, but 1) I'm probably in the minority here, and 2) Murphy has the most trade value as a 2B. He had the same oWAR as Kinsler last year, but Kinsler was worth a win and half on defense, while Murphy was his mirror image at -1.5.
   26. Mark S. is bored Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4652556)
I don't disagree with making him win the job, but I do disagree with the idea that it's such a wide-open battle they'll play Eric Young at 2B if Duda and Davis both have bad springs. Why mess with Murphy, especially when they should know Eric Young isn't anything resembling a long-term solution at 2B, and Murphy's bat doesn't play well at 1B?
Because they have Young, Flores and Murphy for 2B and Murphy, Duda, Davis and Flores for 1B. So someone is gone. It's not going to be Flores (he's too young and cheap). I doubt it's going to be Young. Someone out of Davis, Duda and Murphy is getting traded. I can see the Mets proposing all sorts of arrangements of players over the next month or so until they figure out who they are going to trade. I wouldn't treat anything the Mets are saying about who's playing where as definitive until the season starts.
   27. formerly dp Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4652563)
#26: I take your point,except WRT Young: he's a utility guy. If the Mets are thinking of him as a starter, that's a bad sign-- this is a guy with a career line of .258/.325/.338. He's played 52 games in the majors as a 2B. He's useful because of his speed, but not someone you rearrange people to accommodate.
   28. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4652565)
#26: I take your point,except WRT Young: he's a utility guy. If the Mets are thinking of him as a starter, that's a bad sign-- this is a guy with a career line of .258/.325/.338. He's played 52 games in the majors as a 2B. He's useful because of his speed, but not someone you rearrange people to accommodate.


If your choice is between a 1B with an OPS+ of +/- 100 vs a utility/2B with an OPS+ of +/-85...4
If the 1B has a history as a bit of a malcontent and a bad relationship with the franchise...
If the 2B has a reputation as a ++clubhouse guy who brought lots of positive energy and focus to an abysmal team last year...

I think bottom line, if the Mets were a piece or two away from contending, you go with the guy who can maybe pop a 120 OPS+ if he gets his #### back together. But the Mets are not close to contending, and they are reasonably concerned about building a clubhouse that isn't toxic while they attempt to rebuild a team (again.)

I admit it; I'd go with EY2.
   29. PreservedFish Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4652576)
#28 - My impression is that EY2 is generally considered to be a fringe defender at second, whereas Davis is pretty good at first. I think that changes the math. Also, you're not looking at Daniel Murphy, who is the best player among the three of them - I feel like the Mets should be putting Murphy in the best place to succeed and maximize his value before they should be worrying about EY2 or Davis.
   30. formerly dp Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4652578)
I admit it; I'd go with EY2.
Saboteur!

The problem with the way you've laid it out is that you're leaving Duda out of the equation entirely, and ignoring the ding Murphy's value takes by moving him to 1B. You move Murphy to 1B to make room for Flores at 2B; you don't shift him because you've suddenly decided that a guy whose never played regularly at 2B in his career, and who hits like a backup SS, is now the franchise's solution to the 2B problem. EFY's got his uses, and he had some nice stretches for the Mets where it looked like he might be good enough to crack the starting 8. A Duda/Satin or Duda/Flores platoon at 1B will produce more value than running EFY out there every day.

Anyway, what an odd roster-- a strange amount of positional flexibility, but some of it creates more problems than it solves.
   31. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4652587)
The problem with the way you've laid it out is that you're leaving Duda out of the equation entirely, and ignoring the ding Murphy's value takes by moving him to 1B. You move Murphy to 1B to make room for Flores at 2B; you don't shift him because you've suddenly decided that a guy whose never played regularly at 2B in his career, and who hits like a backup SS, is now the franchise's solution to the 2B problem.


I haven't really seen much to suggest that they are positioning EY2 as "the franchise's solution to the 2B problem." Granted, I don't follow the Mess that closely during off-seasons, and it's the Mess - they may very well be thinking something so silly - but that would be news to me. From this article, I see that they're putting Ike Davis on notice that he is in a play or go situation. They are giving Lucas Duda the same message. The management is saying publicly that if both of them fail, the team will move Murphy over if needs be rather than carry one of them for the sake of having a "first baseman." All of that seems reasonable to me. If you could take Duda's stick and combine it with Davis' glove, you'd have a competent stopgap 1B for a few years. As it is, you have Rico Brogna's decline phase, or Mike Piazza's defense at first. Neither of those fly at the ML level, and there's no reason a team in the Mets position should waste at bats hoping against hope that Davis relearns hitting or Duda gets over his existential fear of leather.
   32. Conor Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4652634)
Terry Collins just kinda says stuff without totally meaning it.
I don't think there is much of a chance of Murphy being moved to first base. My guess is either duda or Davis will platoon with Satin at first.
   33. thetailor Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4652703)
Why on earth is this a make-or-break Duda or Ike and the other one is dead to us situation?

I would let Duda start at 1B and let Davis start in Triple-A where he was destroying everything he saw last year. Duda is probably an above-average first baseman, without too much variation of expected outcomes. If Ike goes to Las Vegas and kills it, then that's a happy problem to have.

I don't care what his salary is - to make a decision based on a handful of spring training at-bats over the paltry sum of ~$5M is idiotic.

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