A little less than a month ago, the New York Mets demoted first baseman Ike Davis to triple-A, hoping to get him back on track after a pitiful .161 batting average and a meager five home runs and 16 RBI over 55 games. Well, Davis is back with the Mets in time for their nine-game road trip, which starts tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers, and lasts until the MLB All-Star Game. However, this is not the right time for the Mets to be bringing Davis back to the big leagues.
The numbers say Davis is ready to return. In 21 games for triple-A Las Vegas, he hit .293 with seven doubles and seven home runs. But as impressive as those offensive numbers are, they came in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, a league that tends to exaggerate offensive statistics, especially for a power hitter like Davis. So while the numbers look good enough for Davis to return to the majors, has Davis really been able to fix a multitude of mechanical problems in his swing in just 21 games?
The move may seem a little out of the blue, but from the Mets’ perspective the timing is no coincidence. Davis will have nine games to play in before the All-Star break, all on the road, giving him a full two weeks back in the big leagues before he has to play in front of the home fans at Citi Field. That will give him ample opportunity to get going in the right direction, with the hope of putting his slump behind him by the time the Mets return home after the break.
But just because the Mets think they can ease Davis back in by being on the road doesn’t mean it’s the right time to bring him back. Without Davis in the lineup, the Mets have been a .500 team. They’ve showed a lot of fight and have played good baseball over the past few weeks without Davis, and there’s no reason to interrupt that.
Playing a few weeks of average baseball is a good place for the Mets to be. They don’t need a shot in the arm, and they definitely don’t need the distraction that Davis’ return will undoubtedly bring. Davis is anxious to get back to the big leagues, and understandably so, but the Mets shouldn’t allow that to dictate his return. The Mets could easily wait until after the All-Star break, if not longer, before bringing Davis back.
The move to promote Davis now seems rushed by the Mets. They’re hoping that all he needed was a quick fix and after 21 games in the minors he’s ready to come back and help the Mets win games. The Mets are choosing to interrupt what has arguably been their best stretch of the season with what could become a huge distraction, and that’s a mistake.