For nearly a month, the New York Mets have experienced a case of addition by subtraction. The Mets demoted Ike Davis to triple-A after being in a slump for the first two months of the season, and the team has been noticeably better without him.
For the season, the Mets are 12 games under .500, but since Davis has been away from the team since June 9, the Mets have won as many games as they’ve lost. It’s a small sample size, but going from a team that was more than 10 games below .500 less than two months into the season to a team that’s capable of playing average baseball is a significant difference. Of course, becoming a better team was part of the reasoning behind demoting Davis.
To say that the Mets have thrived without Davis would be an overstatement, but they’ve certainly been more competitive. Without his rally-killing bat in the middle of the lineup, the Mets have been better at stringing hits together. Without a constant barrage of questions regarding Davis’ future, the team has been more relaxed and has played with more energy, which has helped lead to more wins.
But it isn’t just Davis the Mets have been without during the past month. Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada have also missed significant time, but their absence hasn’t had a negative impact on the Mets. Despite a few promising games at first base for Duda, Josh Satin has started to excel as the every-day first baseman. Meanwhile, Omar Quintanilla has actually been an upgrade over Tejada at shortstop.
Satin, Quintanilla and Andrew Brown have all been given opportunities, and all have made positive contributions to the Mets. Meanwhile, Marlon Byrd has elevated his level of play, and given the Mets the kind of middle-of-the-order bat the Mets thought they’d be getting from Davis and Duda.
The numbers don’t lie, and neither does the attitude. The Mets have been a better team without Davis, Duda and Tejada on the active roster. Before the season, the Mets were expecting a lot out of those three players. But in their absence, the Mets have been a competitive team capable of playing .500 baseball, which is something they’ll gladly take at this stage in the rebuilding process. If the Mets continue to play well without these Davis, Duda and Tejada, they’ll have some tough choices to make in the not too distant future when it’s possible for those three to return to the team.