UPDATE: Originally in the Triple-A lineup, Ike Davis was removed about 30 minutes before game time. He’s in Buffalo, New York and the Mets are playing at Citi Field tonight, so …* * * * * * * * * *
Every media outlet in New York seems to agree
that 23-year-old prospect Ike Davis is on the verge of joining the Mets, but it apparently won’t be today. Davis is in the lineup at Triple-A
this afternoon, batting cleanup and playing first base for Buffalo.
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors notes
that it’s already late enough in the season that the Mets have delayed Davis’ free agency until after 2016, so that hurdle has been cleared. By waiting a bit longer they could also ensure he won’t reach “Super Two” arbitration status in his third season, but that’s less of a concern than pushing back Davis’ eventual free agency.
In other words, if the Mets are going to call up Davis it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference whether they do it today or later this week. But since we are talking about the Mets here, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they didn’t have a firm plan in place.
Also, while admittedly tough to do given the media attention surrounding his impending call-up expectations for Davis should be held in check. He was very impressive during spring training and is off to a tremendous start at Triple-A, but hitting .282 with a .467 slugging percentage and 159 strikeouts through 182 games in the minors doesn’t exactly scream instant impact and Davis has struggled against left-handed pitching.
He definitely projects as a good player long term and is probably better than Mike Jacobs or Daniel Murphy right now, but Davis is hardly a savior.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.