Ike Davis Rumors
Let's take a look at updates on some situations shaping up around the league:
- Mike Trout's one-year, $1MM contract with the Angels is surely just the start of some historic earnings, and ESPN.com's Jim Bowden breaks down what it would cost the Halos to lock up their young star for different possible terms. Bowden values Trout's arbitration years at a total of $66MM, and says that he should earn between $32MM and $35MM for his free agent years. A six-year deal, then, would be worth $162MM, while a ten-year extension would land at $302MM. Bowden says the Angels want to get as many years as possible, and adds that, were he in charge, he would demand at least four free agent seasons.
- The Mets have no active trade dialogue concerning first baseman Ike Davis, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. Nevertheless, Rubin says he expects the chatter to pick up over the coming month.
- Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia has had his MRI reviewed by the team physician and Dr. James Andrews, and neither found evidence of structural damage, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. While that has the team feeling better about things, GM John Mozeliak still advocated caution. "I think the days of feeling perfect are over," he said.
- Though he downplayed an earlier report that the White Sox had scouted Yankees catchers recently, Chicago GM Rick Hahn said that the team was still exploring trade possibilities with other clubs, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Hahn also noted that the club has ample middle-infield depth, which led to Jake Elmore being designated for assignment today. The GM added that the team hopes to be able to trade Elmore, Hayes adds on Twitter.
- Rehabbing reliever Joel Hanrahan told Bowden on XM MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) that he hopes to sign with a new club before the spring wraps up. Hanrahan said that he is still considering any and all interested suitors.
- Union chief Tony Clark said today that the MLBPA is still in the early stages of learning information about the Phillies' role in the recent suspension of former draftee Ben Wetzler, reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. "The interest is the same we would have in the draft in general," Clark said. "These guys are connected to our institution. ... To that extent, we are gathering information as we speak. Yes, we are concerned. Based on what we find out will determine what, if anything, lends itself to further discussion, but we are concerned enough to be inquiring." Salisbury reports that the Phillies felt a handshake agreement was in place with Wetzler, and that someone in the organization later reported him to the NCAA for having an agent present during talks with the team.
Mike Puma of the New York Post wrote last night that Ike Davis concealed an oblique injury for much of the season prior to Aug. 31, when it worsened and sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Davis took exception to the story and addressed Puma and other reporters today, writes ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. He quotes the first baseman: "You made it look like an excuse. It’s an excuse. It shouldn’t have been a story anyway. ... I sucked last year because I sucked. It’s not because I had an injury. You always have injuries. And now it just looks bad."
More from the NL East...
- Mets COO Jeff Wilpon has indicated that the team is likely to pick up GM Sandy Alderson's option for the 2015 season, writes Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Alderson's contract expires after the season, and while some have mentioned his name as a possible replacement for retiring commissioner Bud Selig, David Wright thinks Alderson wants to stay with the Mets and complete the rebuild he's begun since taking over as GM. Said Wright: "Everybody is kind of concerned with how they are remembered. ... he wants to be remembered for taking an organization that was struggling and slowly building it up with the system with some good trades and free-agent signings."
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examines the psychology behind long-term deals for young players, noting that some believe extensions can relieve pressure, while others feel the extensions provide extra pressure, as players feel they must live up to that contract. O'Brien spoke with each of the five players the Braves have signed to multi-year deals in the past three weeks and got their takes on their new contracts.
- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond spoke with Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com and reflected on the decade he's spent with the organization. Desmond is appreciative of GM Mike Rizzo for declining trade offers when he was struggling and also appreciative of managers Davey Johnson and Jim Riggleman for playing him through those struggles.
- Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will make his debut for the Phillies on Thursday this week, giving the club a chance to evaluate the pitcher they signed for $12MM last August, writes CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. Salisbury writes that Gonzalez has merely looked "so-so" to this point and could end up in the minors to open the season if he doesn't win the fifth starter's job.
Although Mets Spring Training is underway and Ike Davis trade rumors have largely died down as of late, a pair of clubs is still interested in the 26-year-old. ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote yesterday that the Pirates continue to monitor Davis' status in camp, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Orioles are still interested in acquiring Davis to serve primarily in a DH capacity.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington told Stark yesterday that the team is confident in its internal candidates to serve as a platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez -- namely Andrew Lambo, Chris McGuiness and Travis Ishikawa. However, Huntington added:
"That doesn't stop us from looking elsewhere. It’s just that now, our bar has been set a little bit higher, as to 'How do we make the club better?' And 'How do we make the club better at the right situation for us?'"
As for the Orioles, acquiring Davis would allow them to add some more power while preserving the No. 55 pick in the draft -- a selection that would be forfeited should the team go the free-agent route by signing either Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz. Davis would also be significantly cheaper in terms of salary, as he's slated to earn just $3.5MM this season. However, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has made it clear that he will not simply give Davis away. Previous reports indicated that Alderson has asked the Orioles to part with top pitching rospect Eduardo Rodriguez in a Davis trade.
Sherman also reports that at one point this offseason, the Mets and Rays were discussing players that could be added to a Davis-for-Matt Joyce swap before Tampa finally proposed a straight one-for-one trade. The Mets rejected that deal, and Tampa closed the door on talks by signing James Loney to a three-year, $21MM contract.
Davis batted .205/.326/.334 overall last season but fared very well upon his recall from the minor leagues after being sent down in early June. The former first-round pick posted an .872 OPS over his final two months, including a .290/.468/.522 triple-slash in August. An oblique strain cut his strong finish to the season short, sidelining him for the entire month of September.
Mets pitchers and catchers officially report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. tomorrow. In advance of the official onset of their Spring Training, here is the latest on the Amazins...
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News cites a Major League source in reporting that there's been some recent talk between the Mets and Nelson Cruz's camp, but the two sides are "highly unlikely" to strike a deal. Still, Cruz and agent Adam Katz seem likely to explore their options as talks between Cruz and the Mariners were said to be on hold as of yesterday (Seattle is currently pursuing starting pitchers).
- Martino also checked in on the Mets' interest in Kendrys Morales, and unsurprisingly was told that there hasn't been much interest since early in the offseason.
- Ike Davis says there was "a little bit of shock that I didn't get traded," writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Within Rubin's piece, Davis repeatedly states that offseason trade rumors were "not a big deal," and says he's happy to return to the Mets. Davis has been working on his swing since November and hopes that correcting an unnoticed bad habit involving his back leg can help to improve his production. He also joked, "Who knows? Not changing my swings 65 times might help."
- Rubin tweets that manager Terry Collins has stated Bobby Parnell will be his closer in 2014 despite the additions of former closers Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth. That's good news for Parnell, as the additional saves will help his final arbitration next offseason as he heads into his contract year.
Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections. We'll use this post to keep tabs on players avoiding arbitration today:
- The Nationals announced on Twitter that they have avoided arbitration with lefty Ross Detwiler. The New York Post's Joel Sherman reports (also on Twitter) that Detwiler received a $3MM salary and can earn an additional $50K for reaching 180 innings.
- Sherman reports that the Mets and Eric Young Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.85MM (Twitter link). Young batted .251/.318/.329 in 418 plate appearances for the Mets in 2013 after he was acquired from the Rockies. He also swiped 38 bases in 45 tries, showing off his blazing speed.
- Sherman tweets that the Pirates have avoided arbitration with Travis Snider by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract. The former Top 10 overall prospect batted just .215/.281/.333 in 285 plate appearances in 2013, though he's a solid defender and is still entering just his age-26 season.
- Sherman also reports that Tim Collins agreed to a one-year, $1.3625MM contract with the Royals, thereby avoiding arbitration (Twitter link). Collins has a strong 3.51 ERA in 190 career innings with 9.7 K/9 in his first three seasons, but he's struggled with command, as evidenced by his 5.2 BB/9 in that time. His control has improved a bit over the past two seasons.
- The Yankees and Francisco Cervelli have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $700K, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Cervelli, who turns 28 in March, is a career .271/.343/.367 hitter in 623 plate appearances.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Reds have avoided arbitration with outfielder Chris Heisey by agreeing to a one-year, $1.76MM contract. Heisey, who batted .237/.279/.415 with nine homers in 244 plate appearances last season, earned slightly more than Swartz's projection of $1.7MM. Though decreases in his walk rate and BABIP caused his numbers to suffer in 2013, Heisey is a solid defender that has feasted on left-handed pitching over the past two seasons.
- Sherman reports (on Twitter) that the Rockies and Wilton Lopez have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.2MM. That number matches Swartz's projection on the dot. Lopez's 4.06 ERA was a disappointment for the Rockies last season, but his 75 1/3 innings were tied for 15th-most among relievers, and his 75 appearances tied for fifth-most in the Majors. ERA estimators like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all think his should've been roughly a half-run lower than it was, pegging him in the 3.57 to 3.69 range.
- Sherman also reports that the Mets and Ike Davis have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.5MM contract (on Twitter). Davis' name has been run through the rumor mill all offseason, but the latest reports seem to indicate that New York is no longer heavily shopping him and is instead prepared to take both him and Lucas Duda to Spring Training. Davis hit just .205/.326/.334 in 2013, though that includes a brutal first half. Following the All-Star break, Davis slashed an impressive .286/.449/.505. Swartz's projection for Davis was dead on, as he had him at exactly $3.5MM.
- The Athletics have reached agreement on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration with catcher John Jaso, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter. Jaso, 30, had an injury-shortened campaign last year with Oakland, but slashed .271/.387/.372 in his 249 plate appearances. In his best season as a pro, 2012, Jaso put up a .276/.394/.456 triple-slash in 361 trips to the dish. With his concussion issues at the end of last season, Jaso is expected to see time at DH in 2014. Swartz projected Jaso to earn $2.2MM, and he will in fact make $2.3MM, according to a report from the New York Post's Joel Sherman (via Twitter). The deal also includes $25K incentives for starting 90 games behind the plate and reaching 450 plate appearances, Sherman notes.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Though there's been a lot made of Ike Davis' availability on the trade market this offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson tells Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that the Mets are "not that actively engaged in trade discussions involving Ike at this point." Alderson says that he's comfortable heading to camp with both Davis and Lucas Duda in the mix.
Alderson repeated that he has no plans to simply give Davis away: "We're not going to move Ike just to move Ike -- or any other player for that matter. This is a trade market, not a yard sale ... You can only ask someone to dance so many times before you get the message."
DiComo writes that there is now a probability that Davis and Duda are both still with the Mets when Spring Training opens next month, as Alderson has not been able to land the young, controllable pitcher he's been seeking in exchange for Davis (he's reportedly asked for Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers and Eduardo Rodriguez from the Orioles).
That all has to come as good news to Davis himself, who told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News on Thursday that he wants to stay with the Mets and wants another chance. Davis and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are currently looking for a house to rent near the Mets' Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., adds Martino. Davis told Martino that while he feels that his availability has been discussed too much in the media, he doesn't feel disrepsected by it. He also said that he respects Duda, and the two competing for playing time is nothing new: "Look, we have basically been competing for the same job since Double-A. I think Duda is a great ballplayer. I have a lot of respect for him."
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy about the team's relatively quiet offseason thus far and some other hot stove items...
- The Brewers are the only team who has yet to sign a free agent to a Major League contract, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently examined. Melvin said the Brewers haven't delved into the free agent market is due to both the team's plan to "go with our young guys" and an overall lack of suitable fits for Milwaukee's payroll. “If you look at a lot of the teams that got involved in free agency in the past few years, it hasn’t been that successful for them — and then there are the players whose price range isn’t even close to what we could consider. We’re putting a lot of faith into our system," Melvin said. “We weren’t going to get [Shin-Soo] Choo. We weren’t going to get Robinson Cano,” Melvin said. “We can look at $5-$6MM, but if we think our guys are better or as good at $500K, why would we make a move just to make a move?”
- Melvin is open to adding a veteran reliever to the young arms in the Milwaukee bullpen, implying that such an addition would come in a trade. "Our bullpen is an area that we’ve talked about maybe whether we would add an experienced piece or not," the GM said.
- The Mets have discussed Ike Davis in trade talks with the Brewers (as well as the Pirates and Orioles) and Melvin confirmed that some talks had taken place. "First base, I’ve had ongoing discussions with Sandy Alderson, but we haven’t gotten to anything where we’re comfortable with the deal from our side, and he’s not been comfortable with the deal from his side.”
- While Melvin declined to say whether he found the Mets' asking price too high, Melvin did say that “I think we’ve pretty well stood by — the one thing we’ve done is we do not want to give up pitching.” The Mets reportedly asked for promising young right-hander Tyler Thornburg in exchange for Davis last month.
With Winter Storm Ion pummeling the eastern half of the United States, let's warm ourselves on the Hot Stove with the latest National League news and notes:
- The Mets expect to begin Spring Training next month with Ike Davis still in the fold, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Brewers and Pirates have been the clubs most linked to Davis and the Mets are willing to re-engage in trade talks with them or any other team. The Orioles have also shown interest in the 26-year-old first baseman, but they turned down the Mets' request of pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez and are notably not mentioned in Rubin's article.
- The Mets are open to adding more depth at catcher, but have no interest in a reunion with John Buck, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
- International free agency has been key to the Cardinals' having the game's best farm system, according to Derrick Goold of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch. The club's top position and pitching prospects (Oscar Taveras and Carlos Martinez, respectively) were both signed as international free agents, Goold notes.
The Ike Davis rumor mill has calmed down as the holiday season has set in, but Mike Puma of the New York Post provides an update (Twitter link). The Mets remain in contact with the Brewers, Pirates and Orioles regarding Davis, but the team has been unsuccessful in its efforts to pry top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez away from Baltimore.
That the Mets are interested in Rodriguez is no surprise, but neither is the fact that the Orioles won't deal him for Davis. Rodriguez, a 20-year-old left-hander, posted a combined 3.41 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 145 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A in 2013. His numbers took a hit upon reaching Double-A (4.22 ERA in 59 2/3 innings), but that isn't all that alarming when considering the fact that he was one of the youngest players in the league. The average age of pitchers in the Eastern League, for context, was 24.6. Hitters in the Eastern League had an average age of 24.4.
This isn't the first time Rodriguez's name has appeared on the rumor mill, as the Twins reportedly asked for the lefty in exchange for Josh Willingham when the Orioles claimed Willingham on waivers in August. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo currently ranks Rodriguez as baseball's No. 85 prospect, and ESPN's Keith Law ranked him No. 44 in his midseason Top 50 prospect list in July (Insider required). Baseball America ranks him third among O's prospects -- behind Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman -- noting in their subscription-only scouting report that he has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter.
In short, Rodriguez is a lofty asking price for Mets GM Sandy Alderson when peddling Davis to other clubs -- higher than his reported asking price of Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers. Davis is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $3.5MM in 2014 and can be controlled through the 2016 season.
7:28pm: The Pirates spoke to the Mets about trading for Davis, a source told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
3:48pm: The Pirates have seen a pair of first base candidates come off the board in the past week with the Rays re-siging James Loney for $21MM over three years and the Mariners acquiring Logan Morrison. However, they're still looking at the trade market and currently have their sights set on Ike Davis and Mitch Moreland, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
Davis' name has been most frequently connected to the Brewers in the past week, but Pittsburgh also has a hole to fill at first base. Davis batted .242/.334/.434 overall in 2013 but was strong against right-handed pitching, as can be seen in his .256/.356/.471 slash line. That would seem to make him an ideal platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez, who roughed up lefties at a .333/.438/.539 clip in 2013.
Moreland offers similar platoon issues, having batted just .236/.295/.362 against left-handers in his career. Both he and Davis can be controlled through the 2016 season, though Moreland is projected to earn just $2.7MM in 2014 (per MLBTR's Matt Swartz), while Davis is projected to earn $3.5MM next season. It's not known at this time what the Rangers would be looking for in return for Moreland. New York is said to be asking the Brewers to part with right-hander Tyler Thornburg.