Ike Davis Rumors

Orioles, Pirates Still Interested In Ike Davis

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 Notes: Cruz, Morales, Davis, Parnell

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.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Detwiler, Young, Snider

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.

(more…)



Mets “Not That Actively Engaged” In Davis Trade Talks

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."


Doug Melvin On Free Agency, Relievers, Mets

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.

NL Notes: Davis, Buck, Cardinals

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.    

Mets Still Talking Ike Davis With Brewers, O’s, Pirates

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.


Pirates Interested In Ike Davis, Mitch Moreland

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.


James Loney To Rays Further Thins First Base Market

With Corey Hart and Logan Morrison heading to the Mariners and James Loney agreeing to return to the Rays this week, the Pirates and Brewers remain on the hunt for a first baseman, as MLB.com's Anthony DiComo notes (via Twitter). The Astros could be on the lookout for a first baseman as well. With Mike Napoli (Red Sox) and Justin Morneau (Rockies) also gone, there isn't much left on the free-agent market, which means teams still hoping to acquire a first baseman will probably also consider trades. Here's a look at the main options still available.

  • Matt Adams, Cardinals. Adams is far better than most of the players listed below, but the Cardinals would only be likely to move him in a major deal. It would be very hard for the Pirates or Brewers to pry him away, since they're both NL Central teams, and the Astros likely don't have the big-league talent the Cardinals would need in order to decide to part with him. His .284/.335/.503 line in 2013 would be a valuable addition to any big-league lineup, however.
  • Kendrys Morales, free agent. Morales might be the highest-profile name remaining as a free agent, but after a season in which he hit .277/.336/.449 while playing poor defense (in the 31 games in which he played first base), he declined the Mariners' qualifying offer. It's hard to see many teams, including the Pirates and Brewers, give up a draft pick for the right to sign a defensively-limited player on the wrong side of 30. It appears likely that Morales will end up back with an AL team, as CBS Sports' Mike Axisa recently noted.
  • Ike Davis, Mets. The Mets seem determined to trade either Davis or Lucas Duda. Davis may be the more attractive of the two candidates, due to his power, although he'll also be more expensive than Duda in arbitration this year. The Mets also seem more inclined to trade Davis. With Loney off the market, there's now a clear path for the Mets to deal Davis to either the Brewers or Pirates. There may be a feeling around baseball that they waited too long, however, with Mike Puma of the New York Post recently tweeting that a source recently told him the Mets were going to "sell low" on Davis. The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough, meanwhile, tweeted, "The Mets' slow, steady march toward trading Ike Davis for something like a right-handed relief prospect is such a drag." In any case, it's hard to see the Mets getting much for Davis, or any team getting particularly excited about installing him at first, after he hit .205/.326/.334 in 2013, even though he batted .286/.449/.505 after the All-Star break. Davis appears set to make about $3.5MM through arbitration in 2014.
  • Justin Smoak, Mariners. With Hart and Morrison both heading to Seattle, Smoak is now available, with the Mariners likely favoring a big-league contributor, rather than a prospect, in return. It remains to be seen how much other teams might want Smoak, however — the former top prospect has hovered around replacement level for his career, and at 27, it may be that his once-highly-regarded bat won't ever carry him. Smoak hit .238/.334/.412 in 2013.
  • Mitch Moreland, Rangers. Moreland's name has appeared in trade rumors since Texas traded for Prince Fielder, but he currently still has a role in Texas at DH. That could change somewhat, however, if the Rangers sign Shin-Soo Choo or re-sign Nelson Cruz, but right now, there appears to be no pressing reason for the Rangers to trade Moreland unless they want to. Moreland hit .232/.299/.437 in 2013, but unlike any of the trade candidates mentioned above, he does play plus defense at first base.
  • Adam Lind, Blue Jays. Lind, who batted .288/.357/.497 in 2013, is a well-above-average hitter, but he's not much of a defender at any position. Also, like Moreland, he has a clear role on his current team as a DH. The Pirates recently asked the Jays about Lind, only to have the Jays ask for Neil Walker in return. If the Blue Jays do trade Lind, he probably won't come cheap.
  • Mike Carp, Red Sox. WEEI's Rob Bradford recently tweeted that Carp was receiving plenty of attention on the trade market, which is no surprise — unlike Davis and Smoak, Carp hit well in 2013, and unlike Moreland and Lind, he has no clear starting role with his current team. Carp played mostly first base and outfield in 2013, but with Jackie Bradley Jr. expected to replace Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, and with Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes expected to play in the corner spots, he won't necessarily be needed in the outfield next year. There isn't much room elsewhere, either, with Mike Napoli and David Ortiz returning at first base and DH, respectively. If Carp hits .296/.362/.523 again, the Red Sox can surely find space for him, but if another team approaches them with a nice offer, they could easily deal him, too.
  • Eric Chavez, free agent. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman recently reported that the Pirates were one of several teams to check in on Chavez, and upon inspection, it's easy to see why. The veteran hit .281/.332/.478 in Arizona in 2013, and while he has limited experience at first base and isn't the defensive star he once was at third, it's easy to imagine he would be at least average defensively if he were to move across the diamond. He might also be relatively cheap, since he was a part-time player in 2013. He's an injury risk, but with Pittsburgh, in particular, he wouldn't have to play every day, since Gaby Sanchez would start against lefties.
  • Kevin Youkilis, free agent. Youkilis missed most of the 2013 season due to injury and wasn't good when he played, but he was a valuable asset as recently as 2011. He'll be 35 in March, however, and showed signs of decline in 2012, so it's fair to wonder how much he has left. He also prefers to play on the West Coast, so he may not want to sign with Milwaukee or Pittsburgh.

Mets, Brewers Still Talking Ike Davis

FRIDAY: The Brewers and Mets are still talking about Davis, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). However, Milwaukee is holding firm in its stance that it will not part with right-hander Tyler Thornburg. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reported earlier in the week that the Mets had asked for Thornburg in return for Davis.

Haudricourt adds (also via Twitter) that if the Brewers are still in talks for Davis, it's likely an indication that Loney is still asking for too much in terms of years and/or average annual salary.

THURSDAY, 12:46pm: The Mets and Brewers met to discuss Davis on two separate occasions at the Winter Meetings, tweets Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The Rays and Pirates are also possibilities for Davis, he adds.

10:23am: According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, all indications are that Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin could move quickly to address his first base need. Melvin is meeting with Mets GM Sandy Alderson, Haudricourt continues, so it's possible the two sides could work out a deal for Ike Davis. The Brewers have some interest in James Loney, but negotiations with him would be more complicated with other teams such as Pittsburgh in the mix, Haudricourt adds (Twitter links).

The Brewers missed out on a pair of their top first base targets yesterday, with each heading to the Mariners. Seattle reached an agreement with Corey Hart and swung a trade for Logan Morrison within an hour's time, leaving the Brewers with a sizable hole at first base.