With the announcement that Ike Davis had been traded to the Pirates, the Mets finally put an end to the first base controversy that had plagued them over portions of four seasons. The trade, at its surface, seems to be the culmination of a long decision-making process, which resulted in Lucas Duda becoming the every day starter, and carries some obvious implications.
Scouting Report: Kevin Plawecki
The Mets 2012 supplemental first round pick had a breakout year across two A-ball levels last season, but Double-A is where the prospects really start to prove their major league bonafides, so let's check in and see how he's doing.
Firstly, the Mets needed to make a roster move with Chris Young coming off the disabled list. The Mets, before the trade, had 26 players on the roster and needed to enter the game with only 25. Sandy Alderson had stated that he had offers on the table, including one from the Pirates, so one can imagine that this move had been in the works for a considerable amount of time.
The move also makes Lucas Duda the every day starting first baseman. Both players have their pros and cons, and both fans and media have largely beat the debate to a pulp. At the end of the day, Duda proved to be the more consistent player, despite Ike Davis having a 32 home run season under his belt and being a generally better defensive player. The move should come as a mental relief to Duda, as well, since he's had to endure media questions and being shuffled in and out of the lineup for an extended period.
The trade does have some additional effects, as well. For one, it should get Josh Satin more at-bats. Last year, Satin was effective in his platoon role, having posted a .317/.404/.476 line against left-handed pitching. Satin has not gotten off to quite the same start this year, but he's seen few at-bats with the Mets stashing three first basemen on the roster.
The other effect that comes of this is that the Mets shed Ike Davis' salary. Davis was owed $3.5 million this year, and was arbitration eligible for the following two years. Some analysts have suggested that the Mets may use the money for another move. While it's speculative, it's certainly intriguing that the Mets would choose to make this move while Stephen Drew is still on the market, and with their noted interest in Joel Hanrahan.
Ike Davis being traded was a necessity for the Mets in many ways. By the end of Ike's tenure in New York, he was hearing boos from the fans and criticism from the media. It was time to name a starter and let Lucas Duda, the more consistent player, prove whether or not he is capable of becoming the Mets long-term solution at first base. On top of that, with the money the Mets saved, they have an opportunity to invest it into another player, and at the minimum received compensation for someone who was likely going to spend most of the season on the bench.