The Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking for a steady solution to fill out their first base platoon dating back to their trade deadline acquisition of Justin Morneau last July. They may have found their man on Friday, acquiring Ike Davis from the New York Mets in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report a deal had been agreed to just minutes before New York opened their weekend series with the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York confirmed the return a short a time later.
Despite his well documented struggles last season that saw his numbers dip to .205/.326/.334 with only nine homers, Davis drew trade interest from several teams during the winter and into spring training. In 2012, he hit .227/.308/.462 with 32 home runs, so his power potential definitely had some carry over appeal, especially for a team that has been utilizing a platoon at first base with Gaby Sanchez playing against left-handed pitchers and Travis Ishikawa getting the nod against right-handers. Sanchez should continue his role as a .300 career hitter against left-handers, but Davis is likely to takeover full-time against righties and should at the very least add some needed power to Pittsburgh's lineup.
As for how Davis is taking it personally, the writing was on the wall after New York committed more playing time to Lucas Duda at first base this season, but it doesn't make the moment any easier.
"Honestly, it's a little weird," Davis said. "I've been with the Mets organization for a long time, and made some really good friendships and stuff like that. That's the toughest part, I think."
"I really had a blast in New York. I made my dreams come true, childhood dreams come true, playing in the big leagues here. But it's just a stepping-stone. It happens to a lot of people, getting traded. Now [I'll] go help my team in Pittsburgh."
Davis' dad, Ron Davis, who used to play for the Yankees, has been publicly outspoken about how the Mets have handled the entire situation dating back to January. He also offered a comment on Friday.
Well, now everybody can truly move on, which for the Mets means a new platoon at first base with Duda and right-handed hitting Josh Satin.
The return itself is not overwhelming. Thornton, 25, was not ranked among Pittsburgh's top 30 prospects coming into the season, though he has pitched well at Triple A Indianapolis, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.23 ERA in four relief appearances. He was exposed to all 29 teams in the Rule 5 draft over the winter, but was not selected.
Rubin explains why the Mets may have elected to take on a lesser prospect in exchange for a player with decent value.
Both make sense. Time will tell if either apply.
In the meantime, the deal is official pending physicals. If all goes well there, Pittsburgh should have Davis in their lineup before the end of the weekend.
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