General manager Sandy Alderson spent the majority of the offseason trying to trade Davis, and he couldn’t find any takers, so the Mets started the year with him in their Opening Day lineup. But a few games later, manager Terry Collins announced that they were going to move forward with Lucas Duda as their primary first baseman this year. With Josh Satin, a right-handed first baseman already on the bench, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to keep Davis around.
He was once an extremely promising prospect, who displayed raw power and outstanding defense at first. It was only two years ago when he hit 32 home runs, but Davis’ career with the Mets started to spiral downward in 2011 when his promising start to the season was derailed by an ankle injury. Then, Davis was diagnosed with valley fever the following Spring Training, and he really never was the same.
Davis fell out of favor with the Mets’ fans and organization because he was striking out at a high rate, and he had a difficult time holding a batting average higher than .220. But Davis went out and played every day, and he was well liked by everyone in the locker room. The Mets owed him a chance to move on and resurrect his career with another team. It was clear that both Davis and the Mets needed a fresh start, and by trading Davis now, his season isn’t a complete loss.
With the trade to the Pirates, he will get the opportunity to win the first base job outright, and he could benefit greatly from the left-field porch in PNC Park. But the Mets didn’t just owe that to Davis, they owed it to Duda. Now Duda doesn’t have to play under a cloud of uncertainty. If he has a bad game, he knows that his name will be on the lineup card the following day. It shows confidence in Duda, which will hopefully translate to the field.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but the Mets really didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. There comes a point in time where a team eventually has to move on from a player, and hopefully this becomes one of those trades that helps everyone involved.