1B Market Outlook 8 Days Before Christmas. Does Sandy Have Any Magic Left?


     As we inch closer to the bargain months of January and February, one has to believe that Sandy needs to pull the trigger soon or risk a reduced value in his surprise commodity that is 1B Ike Davis. With 3 teams, the Pirates, Brewers, and Astros, in pursuit of Davis, Sandy demands have been extremely high to the point of asking for the Brewers top organizational prospect in SP Tyler Thornburg.

     His high asking price does have some merit. The remaining options left on the market are not very attractive.

Player Age AVG OBP HR RBI UZR/150 2014 Salary
Mike Carp 28 0.267 0.337 17 71 (3.3) $1.3
Kevin Youkilis* 34 0.235 0.336 19 60 9.3 $4.0
Lucas Duda 27 0.246 0.342 20 71 0.6 $1.8
Justin Smoak 27 0.227 0.314 22 68 (0.1) $2.8
Mitch Moreland 28 0.253 0.318 23 68 4.2 $2.7
Issac Davis 26 0.242 0.334 25 80 3.0 $3.5
Adam Lind 30 0.269 0.322 26 91 (2.3) $7.0
Kendrys Morales* 30 0.280 0.333 27 90 7.7 $14.1
*- Indicates free agency
- Uses career averages as a basis except for Youkilis which uses last healthy year (2012)
     You can see in the chart above that most of these guys are the same player. Low batting avg, above average power guys who play replacement level to above average defense and are 1st or 2nd year arbitration eligible guys. So far the tipping points in Sandy Alderson's favor are the following:

1.  Adam Lind and Mitch Moreland are both currently starters on their respective teams.
  • Both players are currently locked in at the DH role as of right now. While both situations could change if additional off-season moves are made, the Rangers are looking to upgrade their OF with Nelson Cruz which would move Alex Rios to LF and Michael Choice to AAA thus having no effect on Moreland. Meanwhile, the Jays have been open to possibly moving Lind but, like the Mets, they have a high asking price requesting Neil Walker from the Pirates in exchange
2.  Ike Davis is superior to Justin Smoak in all aspects of the game.
  • Even with Ike's awful 2013 season, He still has both better career number then Smoak and higher upside. In his career Davis has had a higher avg, more power, better OBP, and a better glove. A case can be made that a player's top career numbers is their likely peak upside. In Davis's case that's a .264 avg with a .351 OBP (2010) 32 HR and 90 RBIs (2012). In Smoak's case thats only a .238 AVG, .334 OBP with 20 HR (2013) and 55 RBIs (2011).
3.  Davis is a better value than Morales and doesn't cost a draft pick.
  • The Seattle Mariners gave Kendrys Morales a Qualifying Offer, one that is quickly showing to be a huge detriment to Morales' market. Whoever ends up signing Davis is going to have to give up their top unprotected draft pick while paying at least over $12M a year for the same production they can possibly get from Davis at 4X the cost. For both the Pirates and the Brewers, that would be their 1st round pick which at this point is out of the question especially in this year's DEEP draft.
     In the end, the biggest threat to Sandy's goal of netting a young controllable pitcher seems to be the Red Sox Mike Carp. While he does not currently have a starting role, and has never been a starter in his career, he did performed well in 2013 hitting .296 with an ISO power rate of .227 and has been garnering interest from teams since the end of the Winter Meetings.


Anonymous said...

The Ike return. Is a S/S possible for us ?

Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -

As of right now, anything is possible for the Mets at first base.

It probably won't be determined until spring training is over.

Reese Kaplan said...

As I said elsewhere, can't we just hand a first baseman's glove to Wilmer Flores and tell him, "You're here to hit. Try not to let the ball hit you in the face." It worked for Dave Kingman, Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder and others who made a career out of playing the field despite being DH material. Would he really be worse than Lucas Duda?

Mack Ade said...

Marc Hulet of Fangraphs is projecting that Dominic Smith will start the 2014 season in Savannah and is projected to hit Queens by the end of 2017.

That changes everything long range if that's true

Kevin said...

I know it's a long shot but imagine if the Mets were able to land Jackson or Gatewood in the draft this year. A potential lineup with Smith hitting 3rd and one of them hitting cleanup sounds pretty fantastic. I'm very impressed by Smith so far. I know he has a long way to go but the kid can flat out hit.

Anonymous said...

Its very early still for Smith. Rookie League baseball is about the same level of baseball as junior college ball.

I want to see Smith hit at the NY-Penn League before I vault him into the Top 10 and then hit in the FLorida State League before i place him in the Top 5

Herb G said...

Christopher - Nice piece summarizing the competition for Ike in the trade market.

It certainly seems to me that Sandy has the upper hand, I hope he doesn't overplay it. (Of course, there is no reason to suspect he will.) Getting Thornburg from the Brewers would be outstanding, but getting Will Smith and/or Michael Blazek wouldn't be bad either. Pittsburgh and Houston also have some good prospects who I'd be happy with in return. (I'm sure Mack's mouth is watering for Springer, but I think we all realize he is not coming our way without adding a significant piece.)

Mack Ade said...

Kevin -

Best bat (but lots of Ks) in draft - OF Michael Conforto (Oregon State) -

Top tools - Marcus Wilson OF Serra HS - BA: Wilson offers projection as he fills his lean, wiry 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. He has broad shoulders, a tapered waist and leans legs. Wilson, who is uncommitted, has athleticism, fluid actions and plus speed capable of 60-yard-dash times in the 6.5 range and home-to-first times around 4.1. The member of SGV Arsenal has arm strength and defensive prowess in center field. A righthanded hitter, Wilson has good bat speed and has shown the present ability to hit in games. Wilson is young for the class and will not be 18 until two months after the draft

Herb G said...

Coming back to the very first question asked by Anon at the start of these comments, the answer aould seem to be NO, at least not a SS who could help us this year, which is what I assume you were asking. Pittsburgh has a switch hitting shortstop prospect, Alen Hanson, (their #3) who could come back in a Davis trade. Hanson's ETA in the majors is 2015. Houston's #1 prospect, Carlos Correa, is a shortstop with an ETA of 2016, but I don't see them giving up their #1.

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