In the end Ike Davis will benefit with a trade to Pittsburgh

Rich Mancuso

Ike Davis is no longer a New York Met and it is time to move on. Prior to their game against the Atlanta Braves Friday evening at Citi Field, Davis was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for right-handed relief pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.

The significance is the Mets no longer have the logjam at first base. Davis, rumored to be traded as far as last season, and as spring training commenced, was granted limited playing time and will get an opportunity to be an everyday player in Pittsburgh and be a compliment to Gaby Sanchez at the position.

And, now the Mets have their everyday player at first, with Lucas Duda as the starter. Josh Satin, in the first 16-games of the season saw limited playing time at first and was primarily inserted to start against left-handers. He now becomes the backup to Duda.

The Mets, who were nearly no-hit by the Atlanta Braves Friday night, say it is time to move on. But, Davis, who could never adjust to being the power hitter that was expected, sees the trade as a change that will work for the better.

"Honestly, it's a little weird," Davis said about the trade and move to Pittsburgh. He met with the media outside the clubhouse as the Mets took the field and was prepared to meet his new teammates in Pittsburgh. And some of the Mets did not realize that Davis had been traded until the outcome of their 6-0 loss to the Braves.

The Pirates opened a three-game series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday evening and Davis could be in the starting lineup. His area in the clubhouse was empty as he walked out of Citi Field a former Met.

 "I've been with the Mets organization for a long time and made some really good friendships and stuff like that,” commented Davis. In 24- at bats, he hit .208 with a home run and five runs batted in.

He added about departing his teammates and New York, “That's the toughest part, I think. I really had a blast in New York. I made my dreams come true playing in the big leagues here. But it’s just a stepping stone. It happens to a lot of people getting traded. Now I’ll go help my team in Pittsburgh."

Almost four years to the day he made his Major League debut, Davis may have had his best year as a rookie with the Mets in 2010 when he batted .274, with 19 home runs, and 74 runs batted in. He was a first round draft pick of the Mets, 18th overall in 2008, out of Arizona State.

But, Davis went downhill after that rookie year and never amounted to be the player that was projected. Between stints on the disabled list and a bout with supposed “Desert Fever” there was a high ratio of strikeouts per at bat. And, last season the Mets sent him Triple-A Las Vegas for three weeks with hopes he could make some major adjustments.

"It was a close call. This isn't something that was so clear-cut,” said Mets GM Sandy Alderson about the trade that brings Zach Thornton from the Pirates who will report to Las Vegas. “If it had been, this might have been resolved months ago,” added Alderson.

Thornton, is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four relief appearances playing in Triple-A this season. Alderson believes he will add depth to the Mets bullpen when he gets to New York.

But Mets fan on social media, and at the ballpark, feeling they always need more, expressed their immediate disappointment about the trade. There were many times the past two years when, Davis heard a share of boos after striking out numerous time from the slim crowds at Citi Field.

 Alderson believes in the long term this is another beneficial move for the club. He did not say if the Mets would make further moves with constant talk of tackling the shortstop position, as Ruben Tejada continues his poor production at the plate.

"We're very happy with the trade," said Alderson. "We're happy for Ike, in the sense that he'll get another opportunity elsewhere. It's a situation that we needed to resolve here, and we're happy with the return.”

He added, “Thornton is going to give us more depth, and has pitched very well at the minor-league level. He's not on the roster so it gives us some flexibility there, but we're happy to add that depth. And with respect to the player to be named later, we're happy as well."

Alderson alluded that Thornton was not on the 40-man roster. The Mets replaced Davis on the roster with outfielder Chris Young who returned from the 15-day disabled list. He evaded any question about the Mets making a move at shortstop

As a teammate, Davis will be missed. However, they are happy he will now have an opportunity to once again prove himself as an everyday player. Manager Terry Collins said he was not surprised the trade was coming.

“We wish him well,” said Collins who now has one less dilemma by penciling in Duda in the lineup everyday and using Satin as the utility man. “Davis gets a chance to play and that’s what he wanted. Duda can go out and relax and do what he’s capable of doing.”

Duda, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk, against the Braves, said about Davis, “He was a good friend of mine and nothing changes. I really had nothing to do with it,” he added.  And Duda was not a culprit with Davis leaving New York.

Added infielder Omar Quintanilla, who has seen more than one trade in his four year MLB career, “This is a business, it happens. Ike will now have his opportunity. He was a great teammate.”

“Ike knows he has an opportunity to play and he will take advantage of that opportunity,” said the captain David Wright.  Now the job at first belongs to Duda and Satin. The logjam is over and the Mets can move on.

 “Having three guys over there wasn’t easy for any of us,” commented Satin. “He (Ike) was a good teammate and we’ll move on. I think it will benefit us in the long run.” The Mets and their fans can only hope that Duda does become the productive player that they have been looking for.

And with a regular role now, perhaps consistency in the lineup, and knowing he is there, will produce the numbers.

If not, the Mets giving up on Davis, getting a relief pitcher and player to be named will again leave a bad taste in the mouths of their fans. And if Davis does the job in Pittsburgh, something he could not do at Citi Field, and Duda does not produce, he will become the regular guy at first base hearing the boos and have to answer the questions.

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