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.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.