Ike Davis will rejoin the New York Mets in the coming days on the heels of a demotion to Las Vegas that saw him post impressive numbers. Davis will be slotted into the major league lineup with another opportunity to earn the starting job that many believe he had the rights to for the next decade in 2010.
The Mets are 8-8 since Davis’ demotion on June 9th and are winners of six of their last nine contests. It’s not to say that the Mets are a better team without the first baseman that they desperately need in the middle of their lineup -If Davis is producing to his ceiling he’s miles ahead of any other option currently available- It’s that the Mets don’t know what version of Davis they’ll get when he returns.
While Lucas Duda had been producing very well before landing on the 15-day disabled list, Josh Satin has assumed his natural post at first base and had produced well enough in his small sample size that he deserves the opportunity to play until someone forces him out of the position. Satin has drawn five walks in only 24 plate appearances along with five hits (including a double, which Davis only had three of in 207 plate appearances), good enough for a .263/.417/.316 clip.
2013 is the second consecutive season in which Davis has struggled to get his offense started out of the gate. While 2012 was largely seen as acceptable due to the amount of time he lost to both valley fever and an ankle injury, 2013 is all the more concerning because of the amount of time he has had to play and the success he experienced during the second half of 2012. So the question remains: How do the Mets trust Ike Davis?
If Ike Davis is struggling through his first three starts, do the Mets continue to allow him to be run out every day? If he’s struggling after a month will he face another demotion? If he’s performing well, but either Satin or Zach Lutz are out-performing him in their roles, should it automatically be assumed that Davis should unconditionally be given every opportunity to succeed in spite of the team’s success? It’s not to say that the club is headed for October baseball -Not many souls are making that assertion about the 2013 club- but Davis has received several lengthy opportunities to succeed, and if others are doing so at a higher level than Davis it would be contradictory toward the organization’s overall message of performance earning a position.
Naturally, Davis could easily be given an ample amount of time and return to his dominant form at the plate. That would be the ideal scenario. However, even if Davis does return with an offensive fury, how do the Mets approach the position moving forward? If Davis were to get off to a similar start in 2014, how would the club respond? Davis is a game changing player if healthy and performing to his full potential, but how can the Mets trust Davis if they are currently so riddled with questions about his performance both now and in the future?
Photo Credit: Michael Baron