The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired Ike Davis from the New York Mets in exchange for bullpen prospect Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. If you have been following the MLB trade rumor mill, you have probably noticed that the two teams have had several trade discussions regarding Davis, so a trade seemed inevitable.
This trade makes sense for both teams, but it makes a lot of sense for the Pirates. The Pirates clearly needed to find a replacement left-handed hitting first baseman. Incumbent lefty Travis Ishikawa started off strong, but has since faded, hitting just .212/.270/.394 with a wRC+ of 80. In just 30 plate appearances, Davis has gotten off to a very good start, hitting .208/.367/.375 with a 117 wRC+. He will always strike out a lot, but he will also walk more than the average first baseman. In a small sample size in 2014, he is walking 20 percent of the time and striking out in just 13.3 percent of his plate appearances.
Looking back to last season, Davis had a very good second half of the year, hitting .286/.449/.505 with a 170 wRC+ in 105 plate appearances. Davis had fallen out of favor with the Mets, and the team decided to give the majority of the plate appearances at first base to Lucas Duda. Once that happened, it became clear that Davis’ time with the Mets was running short.
The acquisition of Davis won’t turn the Pirates’ offense into one of the National League’s best, but it should make them much better. With the pressure of playing in New York for a fan base and management that had clearly run out of patience for him, the newest Pirate might have a breakout 2014 season.