As the New York Mets go forth in their search for more astronauts (thanks for that analogy, Mr. Boras … we had plenty of astronauts back in 1999 … and the space suits were terrible), it looks like they're about to jettison one of their existing astronauts into space (or Houston, which has less Dairy Queens.) Ike Davis, who said his goodbyes near the end of last season, turned that into a self-fulfilling prophecy as the suitors are lining up to build Davis his own rocket ship, as the Astros, Brewers, Rays, Rockies, and Orioles have all reportedly "checked in" on Ike Davis, whatever that might mean. This news comes amidst an interesting tidbit that came out recently, that Davis confided in the one and only "Sports Pope" back around the All Star Break that he wanted out … that the team and the fans had given up on him.
Davis is widely seen as a "change of scenery" guy … somebody who is going to go somewhere else and flourish. I believe it wholeheartedly. First off, Davis has ability. We've seen it, albeit in short spurts. Other teams must see it, as the five teams interested in Davis seem to be five more than are interested in Lucas Duda. And let's face it … the "scenery" around here sucks.
(And imagine Davis in Camden Yards with Chris Davis and Manny Machado.)
But if Ike Davis, as much as I still believe he can be a force somewhere else, wants to look for people who have given up, Davis needs to do nothing more than look in the mirror. Saying goodbye to your teammates on September 1st? Maybe he was saying goodbye just for the season. But if those were more farewells than "see you next years", then that's a white flag, Isaac. But Davis gave up long before that. Here's John Delcos from May 17th:
"I realize this is a different era, but Davis’ strikeouts are inexcusable. He didn't seemed concerned about them when I spoke with him earlier this spring, telling me he’s a home run hitter, that he likes to hit home runs and strike outs are part of the package. That’s nonsense, and in some ways, just as selfish as Jordany Valdespin’s styling after hitting a meaningless home run."
Delcos was on the money then, and he's still on the money at present time. In 2011, Davis had a slash line of .302/.383/.543 to start the season before he had that freak ankle injury that started him in a spiral. Davis had 31 K's in 149 plate appearances in those 36 games. Averaged out to Davis' 162 game average of 627 plate appearances, that works out to 130 K's for a full season. With that slash line, 130 K's is more than acceptable. Then came his Jekyll and Hyde 2012, where he had a slash of .227/.308/.462. He struck out 141 times, which was more than his 130 K average in 2011. Stretched out to 627 PA's, that's 151 K's. Last season? 627 plate appearances would have gotten him 167 K's, with a horrid slash line of .205/.326/.334, and diminished power.
So Davis went from a 30 home run pace with 130 K's, to a 15 HR pace with 167 K's and worse than that, accepts that strikeouts are a part of his "package"? Obviously, that's a different package. And I don't know 'bout you, but to me that sounds like a guy who has given up on himself. When you show the ability to be Joey Votto, yet you're content with being Adam Dunn, that's giving up. And that's a damn shame. Lucas Duda doesn't have near the amount of ability that Ike Davis has. Duda is who he is. Nobody is ever going to lament over what Duda could have been. Because even at his best he's just okay. Davis could have been a star here. Between his plus defense and the season he was starting in 2011, Davis could have been a mainstay here.
Now, he'll have one chance to do it somewhere else. The Mets are the only organization that Davis has ever known. A trade will probably be the one thing that could jar Ike's brain into thinking "hey, maybe I need to accept the responsibility to get better and reach my full potential. And if/when that happens, it's going to be another thing Mets fans get to lament about life. But as much as I like to blame the Mets for everything … and when Lucas Duda is going through another six-week long stretch when he hits one double and one home run I'll be sure to curse the Mets' very existence, in this particular case it's wise to remember that there's plenty of blame to go around. And most of it is in the mirror, Ike.