Bucs acquire Mets’ Davis
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates traded for Ike Davis Friday evening, ending heir search for a lefthanded-hitting first baseman.
Davis was acquired from the New York Mets in exchange for minor league pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named.
Davis hit 32 home runs in 2012, but didn’t match that production in an injury-plagued season last year. He had fallen into disfavor in New York.
The Pirates headed into spring training hoping Andrew Lambo would claim the job of sharing first base with Gaby Sanchez. When he didn’t, Travis Ishikawa made the team as a non-roster player.
Lately, though, Ishikawa has been on the bench and Sanchez has been starting most games.
“Hopefully this is a move that solves our first base needs for years to come,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “He’s a very nice complement for Gaby and a guy we think has good days ahead of him again.”
Davis, 27, had a career season for the Mets in 2012 with 32 home runs and 90 RBI. His home run ratio was second only to Ryan Braun.
But Davis slumped last year in a season that was affected by a strained oblique muscle. He batted .205 with nine home runs and 33 runs batted in over 103 games.
Huntington pointed to secondary stats that showed Davis’ walk rate and ratio of hard contact increased while strikeouts decreased after he returned from the injury.
This season, Davis lost the starting job to Lucas Duda. He was batting .208 (5-for-24) with one home run and five RBIs. Most of that production came on a game-winning pinch grand slam.
The Mets are playing a series at home, so Davis is expected to be in uniform for the Pirates’ game tonight against Milwaukee at PNC Park.
Davis is making $3.5 million this season, his second year of arbitration eligibility.
The Pirates will have to move a player off the active roster, and the likely choice is Ishikawa.
Huntington said this doesn’t mean that Lambo is out of the Pirates’ plans. He’s currently at Class AAA Indianapolis and took a .324 average into Friday’s action. In 10 games, he had not hit a home run and drove in six runs.
“We still think Lambo is going to be a good big league player,” Huntington said. “Right now Davis is a better fit for us.”
Thornton, who turns 26 next month, was acquired by the Pirates from Oakland for reliever Chris Resop after the 2012 season. In four relief appearances at Indianapolis, he was 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA over seven innings. He pitched 19 games for the Curve last season.
One report from New York said the player to be named would be “more significant” than Thornton.
There was no immediate word on when the other player would be identified.
Jordy Mercer left Friday’s game after he was spiked on the lower right leg by Milwaukee’s Martin Maldonado. Mercer initially stayed in the game and ran the bases in the next inning.
He was replaced by Clint Barmes.
The Pirates said Mercer had “discomfort” in his right ankle.