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.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.