Ay Yi Y-Ike Davis.
Whether the New York Mets decide to send first baseman Ike Davis to the minor leagues or not, it’s not going to make much a difference in the grand scheme of things.
Davis’ lack of production in the middle of the order has helped to short-circuit the Mets’ lineup. He’s mired in a 1-for-38 slump and hitless in his past 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Contrary to last season, when the Mets could overlook Davis’ slump because the team was four games over .500 after the first 44 games of the season, this year they aren’t getting the production elsewhere.
As a result, the Mets (17-27) currently sit in fourth place in the National League East, 10 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves (28-18). This is the earliest point in a season the Mets are 10 games under .500 since May 19, 2001, when the team started 16-26.
Davis’ .147 batting average is last among qualified hitters for the batting title. To put that number into historical perspective, he has the lowest batting average through 143 at-bats for a major leaguer who hit 30 homers the previous season since Cleveland Indians first baseman Andre Thornton also was hitting .147 at this point during the 1985 campaign, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, per Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
Despite Davis’ brutal start for the second straight season, there is evidence to suggest he can right the ship. After hitting just .201 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI during the first half of last year, Davis rebounded to hit 20 homers, 41 runs batted in and hit .255 during the second of the season. Overall, he hit .227 with 32 home runs, which tied for fifth-most in the National League, and 90 RBI.
On this date last year, Davis had five homers and 14 RBI as opposed to four home runs and nine RBI this year.
Of course, we know what he did last season. And there was enough positive vibes from the organization, specifically the front office, to wonder if the Mets should commit long-term years and dollars to Davis.
But maybe the Mets brass was on to something by not investing in him. Considering Davis is making $3.13 million and will most likely receive a few more million dollars in arbitration this offseason if he can bounce back to a more respectable level by the end of the season, he’ll be at the point where he won’t be worth his salary.
When it comes to deciding on Davis’ immediate future, the Mets should be preparing to ship his services this winter, for marketing him to a team that will fork over something of value – perhaps a second-tier prospect or two. Let’s not forget that Davis has shown glimpses of being a bona fide slugger, so you’d have to figure at least one team would take a flier on him figuring it out with them. And if the in-season fix fails, then the Mets would be best suited to non-tender Davis in December.
It would be a disappointing ending for a guy who not long ago seemed destined to be a fixture with the Amazin’s. Given the current state of the Mets, they are better off cutting ties too soon than holding out hope for too long.
Justin Silberman is a journalism and new media major at Towson University, located in Baltimore, and true Mets fan.