Bleacher Report’s lead writer Jason Martinez put together an interesting piece speculating the top potential trade packages the Mets still might pursue to move Ike Davis. Recently, comments from the front office insinuate the search to find Davis a new home might be over. That may be true, but it’s equally possible Sandy Alderson’s comments are simply subterfuge intended to make it appear the Mets have lost interest in moving Davis thus reigniting the pursuit of the Met first baseman from interested parties.
The Baltimore Orioles had hoped to boost their offensive output this winter with Davis an intriguing possibility. The Orioles already have major league baseball’s leading HR hitter in Chris Davis at first, but the use of the DH would allow the O’s to utilize a two-Davis starting lineup if they could make a deal with the Mets.
Alderson was willing to move Davis if he could receive 20-year old pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez in return. Rodriguez, a 6’2,” 200 pound left-hander has loads of poise and a calm pitching demeanor that helped secure a MLB.com rating as the second best ranked prospect in the Orioles system. However, Baltimore refused to part with their future pitching gem.
Martinez speculates the Mets and the Orioles might still dance if Alderson would consider substituting right-handed pitcher Zach Britton for the young Rodriguez. A candidate for the fifth5 rotation slot for the Orioles, Britton sits on the bubble, out of options and needing to clear waivers should he not make the Orioles 25-man roster. Britton broke into the majors in 2011 starting 28 games for the Orioles. The 26-year old is a sinker ball pitcher who has been troubled the last two seasons with injuries and an up and down performance. As Martinez notes, young starters with five years of team control are very difficult to find.
A glut of young pitching arms in Houston could create the conditions for a Davis trade if the Mets had interest in Alex White. White, once a highly regarded pitching prospect for Cleveland, was moved by the Indians in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade with Colorado. As many pitchers do, White struggled with Colorado’s thin air and was moved to the Astros. The Astros raved about the stuff the North Carolina grad brings to the mound and consider him a top pitching prospect.
Should the Mets bite on White, it would have to be a move targeting the future. Nine months removed from Tommy John surgery, White is hopeful he might contend for a spot in the Astros rotation this spring, but recently admitted at this point he is not yet 100 percent ready to go.
White is 25 years old and was the 15th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft. The young right-hander uses a six pitch repertoire that includes a fastball-splitter-slider-sinker combination. Nobody argues that White doesn’t have major league stuff, it’s consistency that has been his albatross. Martinez predicts White would be a relatively low cost arbitration gamble in 2015 and would be under team control through 2017.
Martinez, next, moves us back to a possible trade partner in the Milwaukee Brewers. Every Met fan knows the Brewers were interested in Davis, and the Mets and Milwaukee were in serious trade discussions earlier in the winter. The Mets wanted Brewer pitching prospect Tyler Thornburg, but the Brewers refused to part with their young pitching gem.
A speedy rise through Milwaukee’s minor league system saw the 25-year old righty reach the big leagues going 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA in four end-of-season starts last summer. Interestingly, Thornburg’s 2013 season was a roller coaster ride. He went 8-1 at the Double-A level before being called up to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League where he went 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts before being summoned to the big leagues.
So, if Thornburg is untouchable, who might the Mets might exchange with the Brewers for Ike Davis? Taylor Jungmann, a former first round draft pick, 12th overall, might execute the trade. Jungmann has not been stellar so far at the professional level going a combined 21-16 with a 3.91 ERA over two minor league seasons shared between High-A ball and Double-A ball in Huntsville, going 10-10 with 4.32 ERA in his latest assignment. But, a high 90’s fastball out of college and a hard breaking curve made Jungmann one of baseball’s most promising young pitchers not too long ago which might be enough to entice the Mets to make the move.
Martinez concludes his speculation linking the possibility of the Mets shipping Davis to the Pirates where Ike would platoon at first with Gaby Sanchez. According to Martinez, the Bucs could possibly throw two different options at the Mets to get their attention.
Pittsburgh’s Stolmy Pimentel is out of options and a likely candidate to be joining the Pirates pen in 2014. That move could make Pirate reliever Jeanmar Gomez available. Gomez threw 80 inning out of the Pirate pen last summer going 3-0 with a 3.35 ERA. The big righthander came from the Cleveland organization. Vastly improved pitching location and the ability to keep the ball down in the zone helped Gomez to the best season of his career in 2013.
Martinez speculates the Mets might also move Davis in return for Pittsburgh minor league outfielder Barrett Barnes. Barnes the 45th pick in the 2012 draft, is a toolsy centerfielder with quick hands, good power and above-average speed who put together two solid minor league seasons to start his professional career.
A bevy of Pirate outfield prospects make it possible the Pirates would be willing to move the 22-year old Barnes.
On my part, I’m hoping the Mets remain firm and Sandy either hooks a top flight prospect, one of his original targets, or we keep Ike Davis at first base. I haven’t lost faith in Ike and have a hunch he’ll put together a decent season in 2014. Even so, if the Mets are committed to moving Ike Davis before the start of a new season, it was interesting to read Jason Martinez’s possible avenues Sandy Alderson might consider when making a trade.