Ike Davis Rumors
It was on this day in 2004 that Tom Glavine threw a complete game one-hitter in a 4-0 Mets win over the Rockies, with Glavine losing his no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth inning. Glavine's gem was one of several near-misses for the Mets in the franchise's record 8,019 games without a no-hitter before Johan Santana finally got it done on June 1 of last year.
Here's the latest from Flushing Meadows...
- There are several reasons why the Mets haven't demoted Ike Davis just yet, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The first baseman talked the club out of sending him to Triple-A this time last year and wound up turning things around, plus the Mets aren't certain that a trip to the minors will necessarily help Davis get on track. There's also the matter of Sandy Alderson being out of town until Friday and the GM may want to be there in person to inform Davis of the decision.
- Zack Wheeler is expected to make two or three more starts in the minors and then make his Mets debut between June 6-11, a team official tells Mike Puma of the New York Post. Had Wheeler not recently missed a start due to a sore AC joint, the official says the right-hander might have already been called up. Wheeler is one of the consensus top prospects in baseball, acquired by the Mets in exchange for Carlos Beltran in a July 2011 trade with the Giants.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com wonders why the Mets haven't signed more "Moneyball" type free agents who can deliver production at $2-4MM per season. Scott Hairston, Chris Capuano, Chris Young, and Scott Rice are examples of inexpensive players that have outperformed their salaries, but there have been far more misses under Alderson's watch.
MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post
Braves lefty Eric O'Flaherty has a torn UCL and will likely need surgery, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). GM Frank Wren tells O'Brien (also via Twitter) that the Braves are unlikely to make an immediate trade to replace O'Flaherty in the bullpen, noting that Wren doesn't expect other teams to trade top relievers this early in the season. Here are more notes from around the East divisions.
- The Mets have not yet discussed the possibility of acquiring first baseman Daric Barton, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says (on Twitter). Sherman writes (also via Twitter) that a Mets employee says the team will likely at least consider Barton, however. The Athletics designated Barton for assignment Saturday afternoon. Mets first baseman Ike Davis has struggled terribly this season, posting a line of .160/.245/.267.
- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury might be distracted by his impending free agency, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald suggests. Lauber quotes Mike Napoli, who discusses how pressures from friends and family during a contract year can take a player out of his comfort zone. "I could see where guys, because of that free agent year, if you start off rough, it’s like you want to do so good that you’re overdoing it," Napoli says. Shane Victorino says that he hasn't noticed Ellsbury overburdening himself, however. Ellsbury is hitting .247/.312/.346 so far this year.
- Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says this season has been "amazing" so far, Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger reports. "I didn’t but into the doomsday scenario that many people did. Because I knew that we had some good kids at Triple A. But more importantly, I knew that the guys we got in the offseason were veterans," Steinbrenner says. "[T]his is what you expect veterans to do." Newly-acquired veterans Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay have played key roles in the Yankees' 27-16 start.
- Steinbrenner tells McCullough he won't address manager Joe Girardi's contract until after the season, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News argues that Girardi deserves a new contract now, given his performance as the team has struggled with injuries.
Mets first baseman Ike Davis bashed a career-best 32 home runs in 2012. Today I spoke with him about his relationship with his agent, Lou Jon Nero of Octagon.
On his first agent:
The first guy we ever met was Gregg Clifton, he was with Octagon at the time. My dad [former MLB pitcher Ron Davis] knew Clifton and he was like "Alright, whatever, we'll try you out for a little while." It wasn't like they could do much then because it was advisors. I hadn't been drafted or played my senior season yet. I started talking to him for a little bit, and personality-wise it wasn't a great fit. Before the season I met Lou Jon and we put him through the grinder a couple of times, made him come to the house for three or four dinners, and had dad question him. I was there, and I obviously didn't know much about what you're looking for at that time, being so young. It was just a personality test to make sure you're with good people. We don't like slimy people in the Davis family. He passed the test with flying colors, and we told him we'd like him to represent us, and I've been with him almost ten years.
On Octagon's acquisition of the baseball divisions of CSMG in 2008:
They were CSMG back in the day, when I first met them. CSMG said they were selling basketball and football, and our whole baseball office is going to Octagon.
Was that acquisition a concern?
Not really, because you don't go for the company. You go for the agent, the guy that is representing you. Companies will have four or five different agents and you have to find the one that you can communicate with, that understands what makes you tick and what to do and how to do things to keep you at your best level of play.
On how he decided he clicked with Lou Jon:
We spent a lot of time together. He's a young guy, he's not old school. He never made me feel like I didn't know what I was talking about. He never made me feel like I was inferior. He's kind of hip. He's around my age, and we like the same stuff. He's really up-to-date with technology, he's on top of all the things that I'm not always on top of. He's fun to hang out with, he's very family-oriented which I like. He doesn't have slicked-back hair, nice suits, a $100,000 watch -- he's homey, kind of like I am. I don't like the shiny look on the agents, it's kind of freaky.
On considering signing when he was drafted out of high school by the Devil Rays in 2005:
It was about money, and what it would take to not go to college. Lou Jon basically said, "You're not going to go unless it's over a million dollars." At that time I was like, "You're crazy man, $700,000 is a lot of money." He said, "Don't worry about it, you're going to get money, you'll be in a better position." I got drafted, and I think the most they could probably come up with was maybe half a million or something like that. It was a lot of money to turn down at 18, but Lou said, "Don't worry, you've got three years of being in Tempe, Arizona [at Arizona State University], three years of the best time of your life, and you'll be drafted way higher when you're done. It's a win-win for you." He was letting me know, "Everything's fine dude, you're going to be great." He always had the right path in mind for me, which is really cool.
On the 2008 draft, in which he was taken 18th overall by the Mets:
That's actually pretty crazy, because the draft's a weird thing. The teams don't really know, the agents really can't tell you much unless you're the first or second pick. When you're after the first five or six picks, it's kind of like, "Who knows." One team might have you fourth on the board, one might have you 19th. It's different. I knew that I was going to get drafted in the top two rounds, didn't know yet if it was going to be by the Dodgers, who wanted me to pitch, or a team that wanted me to hit. Basically what I told every team was if you draft me, I was going to sign. I was like, "I'm going to sign if you draft me, so draft me."
Did that hurt your leverage?
No...one thing I like about Lou Jon is that we know what we're worth and what we're not. We're not trying to get crazy money out of people. You know that when you're drafted 19th you're not going to get $8MM. We know where we stand. We don't make people upset and we don't get upset because we're not asking for an unfair amount of money. The slot was like $1.4MM and I ended up getting $1.575MM. If Lou Jon was throwing out $3MM, then things might not happen. I probably wouldn't get drafted in the first 20 picks.
On what an agent does after a draft pick signs:
Off-the-field stuff like card signings and deals with equipment, and how not to get trapped into long-term deals with equipment when you could make the big leagues in a year, and you're in a three-year Nike deal, or a three-year deal with anybody, and instead of making that $10-12K a year, you're still making $500 a year. Say you're in the minor leagues and you really want to be with Under Armour, and they're like, "We'll give you all your cleats and we'll give you $500 in merchandise a year, but here, sign this five or six-year deal." You sign the deal and in a year and a half you're in the big leagues in New York, and you're this up-and-coming rookie that's making a big splash, you're going to have a chance to make over $20K a year instead of being on that $500 deal.
On his involvement in negotiations for his first-year arbitration salary in 2013:
I was pretty involved. My agency had come up with a booklet the size of the Yellow Pages, with all different players that were similar that I could be compared to. It's more for knowledge of why we think I should get the money. We came up with a number together, looking at all the people that have gone before me, this is the number that should be fair for a first year of arbitration. We said this number we're going with, we're not going any less, period. If they want to go less, then we go to arbitration. The biggest thing is sticking to your guns. We made a fair number, and this is what we deserve. We talked to MLB to make sure they thought it was a fair number, and they agreed.
We said [to the Mets], "We can end it right now simply if you just give us this, we'll sign that day." We started talking three or four days before that date. They came in at 2.8 [million], and we were like, "No, we want 3.125 and we're good." The good thing is we had quick communication. They said 2.8, we said no, 3.125. They said 3, we said 3.125. They said 3.1, we said 3.125. They said 3.120, we said 3.125. That day was over and it was past the date. The next day they go, "Here's the 3.125." The good thing is, we weren't asking for $4MM. We didn't have to go to arbitration and have potential to lose $800K or $1MM because we have a poor number.
On going year-to-year versus signing long-term:
I like being with Lou Jon because we're pretty open about what it will take and what's a good deal. We go over what is a fair deal to do. We're not asking crazy amounts, we just want what's fair, what I have proved on the field and what I deserve. If that comes to where the Mets do offer me an extension or want to extend me, me and Lou Jon will come up with a number that we think is a fair number -- not a number that's not fair or we're pushing the envelope. If whoever doesn't want the fair number then obviously we'll go year-to-year and me and Lou Jon have no problem doing it, but guaranteed years and security is always nice. Lou Jon has a lot of confidence in me to go year-to-year and be fine if that's the case.
Has the team thrown anything out there to date?
No. We have not. The first thing I ever even heard about it was a couple of days ago, but there was no conversation, it was just a random passerby asked me if I knew they were thinking about extending me, and I was like, "Nah, I haven't heard of anything." I guess Sandy had said something to somebody that they were thinking about it, something like that.
Would you be open to giving up a free agent year or two to get that guarantee now?
I'm open to a conversation about anything. The free agency years are obviously the tough ones, because those are the years that you have the potential to sign a bigger contract for a longer term. As for arbitration, I wouldn't mind a three or four-year deal where it takes arbitration out of it. We're more inclined to take care of the arbitration years. They always say your first deal, it's mutual, but it's team-oriented, and your free agency is obviously player-oriented. Me and Lou Jon are up for anything, but it has to make sense.
On whether he's recommended Lou Jon to other players:
Me and Lou Jon are really good friends now. We've known each other for ten years, I know his whole family and we spend a lot of time together. He comes over, we'll go to hole-in-the-wall food places, my brother hangs out with him, he's around a lot. But I also hang out with baseball players. I don't like pressuring people into doing stuff. That's another reason Lou Jon's really cool, is that he never pressures my friends, asking questions about how they feel about their agents. He knows that if they were looking for an agent, they would ask him about it.
On whether a larger agency offers an advantage over a small one:
For sure. When I was with CSMG with Lou Jon, it was a good-sized agency, but it was small. Once they moved to Octagon, there's just more people reaching out trying to improve your brand, getting more opportunities and more business ventures. There's more connections and more hands that are working on stuff.
Check out our other interviews in the Why I Chose My Agency series with Ted Lilly, Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Wainwright, Jeremy Affeldt, David Wright, Jay Bruce, and Matt Holliday.
Some notes from baseball's East divisions...
- This is a "unique year" for five Red Sox who may become free agents after the season, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. As Joel Hanrahan, Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Mike Napoli look ahead to the prospect of facing the open market, they are adhering to the mantra that, as Ellsbury put it, "nothing changes." The Boston center-fielder explained: "Every year I've played for something. I've never had a guarantee. For me, it's the same as it has been the last three years, going through arbitration. For me, it doesn't change my approach. It doesn't change how I go about the game. It doesn't change my work ethic."
- Front office staff, like players, face immense pressure to perform. As reported by Michael Anft of PressBoxOnline.com, Orioles GM Dan Duquette has seen his share of success and failure over the years, and last year began to find redemption in Baltimore. "I learned a lot from the experience in Boston," said Duquette, including the need to be "more accessible" and to "have more fun with it."
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Mark Hale and Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post that he has interest in signing Ike Davis to an extension that would cover the first baseman's three arbitration seasons. Alderson said that he would "keep an eye on" that possibility, though he noted that it "has to work for both sides." Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com opines that Billy Butler's extension with the Royals could be a good comp.
We'll keep track of today's arbitration settlements under $4MM right here..
- The Mets have reached a deal to avoid arbitration with Ike Davis, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter). Davis' one year deal is worth $3.125MM, Rubin tweets. The midpoint between their two figures was $3.265MM.
Determined to become more of a power-oriented team, the Mets have decided against trading Ike Davis this winter, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Mets originally considered trading Davis and moving Lucas Duda to first base, but the club will now slot Duda in left field and keep Davis at first in an effort to boost their home run total.
General Manager Sandy Alderson is expected to do even more to add power to the Mets lineup. If the Mets wind up trading R.A. Dickey, they would push to get at least one young slugger in return, preferably an outfielder. Sherman also writes that the Mets can be expected to pursue low-cost veteran sluggers and may consider names such as Jonny Gomes and Raul Ibanez.
The latest on the Mets...
- Mike Puma of The New York Post reports that Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are the team's only untouchables in trade talks. GM Sandy Alderson is expected to explore trades more than free agents this winter, and they have "some interest" in White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers.
- Lucas Duda had surgery yesterday after fracturing his wrist moving furniture, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says that could take Ike Davis completely off the trade market. Duda was the club's backup plan at first base, though he is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
- David Lennon of Newsday says (on Twitter) that it would be very tough for the Mets to trade R.A. Dickey from a public relations perspective even if the two sides can't work out a long-term deal.
- John Harper of The New York Daily News writes that Alderson has plenty to prove following his first two years on the job. Outside of the Wheeler trade, Harper says his moves haven't worked out too well.
The Yankees are obviously frustrated with how their 2012 campaign turned out, but an American League General Manager told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that they won't have to blow things up the way that the Red Sox did in order to improve. “[I] don’t think they necessarily have to hit rock bottom like Boston to get better," said the GM. "We always said you can’t do that in Boston, but it happened. We always say that can’t happen with the Yankees, so I guess we’ll see. But I just see Brian Cashman trying to get this team younger while still competing. That’s what I think will happen.” Here's more from today's column..
- We've heard that the Mets will be open to trading Ike Davis, but special assistant J.P. Ricciardi would be shocked to see any movement on the first baseman. Davis has often been linked to the Red Sox and the Rays would also be a fit. Tampa Bay could certainly afford to part ways with a pitcher in order to improve their offense.
- Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum will be available in trade and it will be interesting to see what kind of market develops for him. The Giants say his problems were strictly mechanical, but other teams wonder why his fastball dipped from around 96 mph to 92 mph for most of the season. The 28-year-old is due $22MM in the final year of his deal.
- The White Sox will decline Jake Peavy's $22MM option for 2013 and one National League GM sees him fetching a three-year deal worth $36-40MM on the open market. Understandably, the GM cautioned that team doctors would have to do a thorough check on him despite the fact that he stayed healthy this past season.
- Ricciardi's deal with the Mets is up but he expects to return. So far, no one has inquired on him as a GM candidate or something close, though he says he would like to return to the front office.
The Mets will “turn over” the roster this coming offseason, team sources tell Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Here are the details, starting with the team’s franchise player...
- Team officials remain optimistic that they’ll be able to retain David Wright long-term, Rubin reports. Mets executives hope the third baseman will succeed Tom Seaver as the unofficial ambassador for the organization once he retires as a player, according to Rubin. Wright told Rubin over the weekend that he hopes his next contract will cover the remainder of his playing career.
- Relievers Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez are expected to leave as free agents after the season, Rubin reports.
- Rubin hears from Mets sources that Andres Torres and Mike Pelfrey will likely be non-tendered this winter.
- R.A. Dickey’s contract includes a club option for 2013 that will surely be exercised, but his long-term future with the organization is not entirely secure, according to Rubin. Mets executives seem wary of making a “sizable commitment” to the Cy Young candidate.
- One Mets person said the team would require “a boatload” to part with Ike Davis, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The Red Sox had two scouts in attendance at last night’s Mets-Marlins game and could have interest in trading for the first time arbitration eligible first baseman, Heyman reports.
The Mets aren't inclined to trade Lucas Duda, believing that his upside outweighs what they could net in a deal, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. A report earlier this month indicated that the Mets would be open to the right deal for either Duda or Ike Davis to address other needs.
Dealing Davis would open up the first base position for Duda, making him a natural fit for the 2013 club. However, if the Mets do not find the right deal for Davis, the club seems willing to stick with Duda in the outfield and hope for the best.
Davis, 25, shouldn't be too hard to move as he has climbed back from a slow start to hit .224/.304/.454 with 31 homers in 566 plate appearances this season. The Red Sox, Indians, Rays, and Marlins are among the teams that could have interest in him this winter.