Now that the Mets have announced their interest in trading Ike Davis it's time for rampant speculation about who we might get in return. Sure, it's just as likely that they are simply attempting to scold him through the media, but it's a good excuse to dream up some trade scenarios.
I've constructed this posts on two assumptions, either one of which could be faulty. Here they are:
1) The Mets will trade Davis for a major league player or a minor league player ready to start in the bigs next year. I see this as more likely since the Mets really need to start winning at least in 2014. There is no sense in trading Davis for high-upside talent far away from the majors if the Mets want to win any time soon. Also, teams are probably more likely to want to trade another surplus player or player they have issues with at the major league level then part with prospects.
2) The Mets will trade Davis for another position player. This just makes sense, given this is where the Mets are weakest.
You'll see below that I did break my own rules for one trade partner.
For the record, Davis has accumulated 1.0 FWar so far this year, with a .746 OPS. Over 1,279 PA he has 5.9 WAR and a .788 OPS.
Also, note, these possibilities are not necessarily my preferences.... just options that might work. They are listed in order of most likely to least likely.
1) Davis for SF 1B/OF Brandon Belt
Sandy won round one with Wheeler for Beltran, Sabean struck back with Pagan for Torres/Ramirez. I'm not sure who would win Round 3, but the Giants have expressed unhappiness with Belt, the same as the Mets have with Davis. They are two very similar players, and a swap would make some sense. The Mets would have to view Belt as an able OF. He only played two games there this year, unfortunately. Belt was a 1.5 WAR player this year.
Why it Would Happen: The two have similar value and both teams are unhappy with them.
Why it Would Not Happen: Belt/Duda could cause the same problem as Davis/Duda if Belt can't play OF. The Giants may see Belt as having more upside.
Lavarnway has been bad in his short major league stint this year, but had an .815 OPS in AAA. He had a .992 OPS in AAA in 2011, so the potential for more is there.
Why it Would Happen: The Red Sox need a 1B and while they could sign Adam LaRoche or Nick Swisher, they may be wary of spending too much in free agency. They don't need a back-up catcher nearly as much. The Mets, on the other hand, really need a catcher.
Why it Would Not Happen: The Mets may be wary of Lavarnway's less stellar offensive year this season and I've read elsewhere there are some concerns about his defense. The Red Sox, in turn, may view Lavarnway as having similar offensive potential to Davis, and may view him as a possible 1B.
Here is where I break my rules. Tampa Bay needs a 1B and they can't afford to pay much for one. They also have an excess of pitching. The Mets don't need pitching as much, but they do need relievers. McGee is a young, effective one and Davis could also stay in the bullpen. Or the Mets could trade W. Davis or Niese to get another hitter.
You could also see the Mets and Rays matching up on other possible pitchers
Why it Would Happen: See above. This makes sense for Tampa Bay and offers good value for the Mets. And while the Mets have pitching possibilities now, Santana and Dickey are free agents next year, and the young pitchers are unproven.
Why it Would Not Happen: The Mets would surely prefer a position player. And while Tampa Bay is rumored every year to be interested in trading pitching, they usually don't actually make the move.
4) Davis for Toronto C Travis D'Arnaud
D'Arnaud is a prospect, but one who is ready to play in 2013. He is considered a top prospect and had a .975 OPS in AAA, so this might well not be a trade Toronto would make.
Why it Would Happen: The Blue Jays have said they are set at C next year with J.P Arrencibia, while also saying that 1B is a position where they would consider bringing in a new player. If Davis lived up to his potential there, they could have a great team next year. The Mets would likely jump at a chance for a major league ready catcher with a great bat.
Why it Would Not Happen: D'Arnaud is probably too valuable to trade for Davis.
5) Davis for STL 1B/OF Allen Craig
Craig, who is unheralded, has an .893 OPS in 2012. He plays both 1B and OF, and UZR does not like his work too much, especially in the OF.
Why it Would Happen: The Cardinals need a 1B and the Mets need an OF. The Cardinals have a crowded OF and Craig is surplus. The Cardinals may view Davis as having better long term potential.
Why it Would Not Happen: Craig has been the better player so far in his career and can play 1B so why would the Cardinals trade him? Conversely, because Craig is not so well known and was not a highly-touted prospects, the Mets would face major blowback if he did not succeed. Craig also could be a problem defensively in the OF.
Ackley, once the second overall pick in the draft, has not lived up to his potential, at least offensively. He has a .643 OPS so far this year, with a 2.0 WAR. The Mariners are desperate for offense and could be interested in Davis.
Why it Would Happen: Davis's power would be attractive to the Mariners. The Mets could use a solution at 2B.
Why it Would Not Happen: It's a hard sell to trade a 1B for a 2B with defensive value unless the 1B has really shown he has a much better bat. Ackley hit better in 2011 and was chosen very high in the draft. The Mariners may not be ready to give that up. The Mets also already have Daniel Murphy at 2B and for all his flaws, he is a better player than anything the Mets have in the OF or at catcher. Perhaps a Murphy and Davis trade for Ackley and some prospects or a relief pitcher could work.
So what do you think? Do you like any of these deals? Which is most likely and which most unlikely?