Mets first baseman Ike Davis attempted to bunt for a base hit in the bottom of the second inning with one out and the bases empty and his team down 1-0. He was facing an infield shift, so his thought was to drop a bunt down the third base line for an easy infield single, but instead, he bunted right back to Braves starter Kris Medlen for the 1-3 putout. The crowd of nearly 25,000 at Citi Field booed Davis as he walked back to the dugout.
Davis is used to the booing, though, and defended his decision to bunt when speaking to the media after the game. Via ESPN’s Adam Rubin:
Power hitters don’t normally bunt, but Davis said he plans to try doing it more this again.
“I mean, I get out a lot anyway, so might as well give it a try,” Davis said, with a wry smile. “If I get it down in the right spot, it’s a hit. I’m definitely gonna try to do that more often.”
“Ike’s just trying to get on base,” Collins said. “And I will tell you, he’s gonna see [the shift] again, and if you wanna bunt, go ahead and bunt.”
Davis has had an awful season. Tonight’s 1-for-4 performance actually bumped his batting average up to .178 but his OPS is still a disappointing .531. The only players in baseball with a worse OPS (min. 200 plate appearances) are Brendan Ryan of the Mariners (.521) and teammate Ruben Tejada (.529).
Davis was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas after going 0-for-3 on June 9. In 21 games under 51s manager Wally Backman, Davis hit .293 with a 1.091 OPS. He was recalled after going 3-for-4 on July 3. Between his return to the Majors on July 5 and prior to today’s game, Davis posted a .257/.381/.286 line. The on-base percentage is nice, but a .286 slugging percentage is far below what is expected even from a below-average first baseman (the average first baseman in the NL has slugged .415). Bunting isn’t going to help that.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.