Ike Davis is an interesting problem. He started the year in the deepest of swoons and it got so bad that the Mets sent him back to Triple-A to figure stuff out. There he did, and and after returning from Triple-A in early July he hit .267 with an .872 OPS in 48 games, posting a fantastic .429 on-base percentage with more walks (38) than strikeouts (35). Just a total turnaround. Then, man, he strained his oblique and got shut down for the year.
Quite a roller-coaster. But also a bit of a problem. For you see, Davis is arbitration-eligible and that means a pretty decent raise over his current $3.15 million salary. Which is great if he’s the Ike Davis of the second half of 2013 or the Ike Davis of 2012. Not so great if he’s the first-half Davis. And how the injury plays into it all is another variable.
Of course whether to tender Davis a contract is not my decision to make, it’s Sandy Alderson’s. For what it’s worth, Adam Rubin of ESPN reports that there is “no consideration being given” to non-tendering Davis.
I think that’s the right call. There’s no guarantee that Davis won’t continue to struggle for half-seasons at a time, but there’s also too much potential there — and no better option hanging around — to consider a non-tender. It’s hard to envision a successful Mets team any time soon that doesn’t feature an effective Ike Davis. There’s no guarantee that the Mets will get that, but they have to stick with him.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.