SOUTH HILLS – Since the season ended, the Pirates’ greatest need has arguably been a left-handed hitting first baseman (unless you’re comfortable fielding Andrew Lambo there on Opening Day). And as of this morning, the neon vacancy sign is still glowing.
We can confirm via a source who has knowledge of the talks that the Pirates have interest in Mets first baseman Ike Davis.
This news didn’t exactly seem to illicit excitement on Twitter yesterday evening. Yes, Davis was demoted to Triple-A after a horrendous start to the season last year. Yes, he batted .227 in 2012 and .205 last season. Yes, he earned Super 2 status and he’s eligible for a second year of arbitration this season. Davis has also battled some injury issues.
Still, there are some things to like about Ike:
Davis hit 32 home runs in 2012 as 24-year-old at power-sapping Citi Field. He has legit power despite his paltry total last season.
After Davis returned for Triple-A last season he did something remarkable: he led the NL in on-base percentage (.449). Davis has shown plate discipline throughout his career, posting double-digit walk rates everywhere he’s been.
And remember, the Mets and Pirates were trade partners in August when the Pirates acquired Marlon Byrd. The Mets have a surplus of first basemen and are in search of young talent, no doubt eyeing some of the arms in the Pirates’ farm system, or perhaps one of their young lefty relievers.
Why else should you think about liking Ike? The first base trade market is more barren than originally thought Brewers GM Doug Melvin tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel”
“It’s pretty quiet,” said Melvin. “We know all the names. It’s a small group. Nothing changes from one day to the next. Ike Davis is the one player people talk about. Other than that, there’s not much available.”
Melvin says the Rangers aren’t ready to part with Mitch Moreland. The Blue Jays reportedly asked for Neil Walker for Adam Lind. Neal Huntington hinted at the idea that Justin Smoak might be available but the Pirates have not been directly connected to him in trade talks.
Should you like Ike? Perhaps it’s the most realistic option if you would like Pirates to upgrade 1B.