Rumors involving the New York Mets early in the MLB offseason indicate that the team is leaning towards keeping Lucas Duda as their first baseman and shopping around Ike Davis. Figuring out their situation at first base is the Mets’ top priority this offseason, which means the Mets will need to cut ties with either Duda or Davis. But while it’s fine for the Mets to pursue a trade involving Davis, rumors indicate that a trade could be on the table that would ship Davis to the Milwaukee Brewers straight up for outfielder Norichika Aoki, which is not a trade the Mets should make.
Aoki is a nice player; he’s a leadoff hitter that has good speed, gets on base consistently, and has a little bit of power. However, the Mets already have a similar player in Eric Young, and trading for Aoki would eliminate any need for Young, which includes the possibility of moving Young to second base and trading Daniel Murphy, who could be the Mets’ best trade chip this offseason.
Aoki and Young in the lineup together wouldn’t work, and moving Young to the bench would be useless, as his career stats indicate he’s more productive when he plays every day. A lineup that includes Aoki and Young without Davis and Murphy would have a little too much speed and not enough power, even for a spacious ballpark like Citi Field.
Despite Davis’ profound struggles the last two seasons, he’s worth more in a trade than just Aoki. Davis has tantalizing power, displayed improved plate discipline the second half of the 2013 season, and is a plus defender at first base with gold glove potential. Trading a player with all of that who’s under team control for three more seasons for Aoki, who will be a free agent after the 2014 season, is not a good move for the Mets, even if it will save them some money.
Moreover, Davis is someone whose value on the trade market needs to be fully explored, as he has the talent to be an impact player, but could just need a change of scenery, which makes him more valuable than Aoki. If the Mets find a way to acquire more than just Aoki from the Brewers in exchange for Davis, that would be more acceptable, especially if they can get rid of Young in the process. However, a straight up trade of Davis for Aoki is not a move the Mets should make.