UPDATE: Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post this afternoon that there’s no deadline for a decision to be made on Davis’ status.
10:10 AM: Ike Davis finally broke his 0-for-24 hitless streak yesterday with a single to center field in the sixth inning, but he’s still at risk for being sent to the minors. In fact, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York hears that discussion of a demotion has “only intensified” and that he might not be given much more than this weekend to turn things around.
Davis is hitting just .160/.245/267 with four homers and 46 strikeouts through 147 plate appearances this season. Only Aaron Hicks and B.J. Upton have a lower batting average among qualified hitters. The 26-year-old first baseman also got off to a slow start last season, but the Mets stuck with him through his struggles and he hit .253 with 27 homers, 69 RBI and an .878 OPS after the start of June. However, he might not get such a long leash again.
According to Rubin, the front office appears to be more in favor of a demotion than manager Terry Collins, who lobbied to keep Davis in the majors last year. One possible hint that a move is coming is that Andrew Brown started at first base last night for Triple-A Las Vegas. The Mets would also have the option of moving Lucas Duda to first base, though they likely want him to continue to get regular work in left field.
The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.
The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.
A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:
I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.
This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.
Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.
Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.