A report on Monday said not tendering Ike Davis a contract for 2014 is not an option.
Adam Rubin writes at ESPNNewYork.com that team insiders claim “there is no consideration being given to non-tendering Davis in December.” This does not mean Davis will definitely be a Met in 2014. They could still trade him if any other team wants to take a chance on him.
All this means is that the Mets will not give away Ike Davis for nothing. If they do not tender Davis, he would become a free agent. If they do tender him, it would cost a minimum of $2.5 million. That’s because under the rules, the Mets could only cut Davis’s salary by 20%. And since he made $3.125 million this season, $2.5 is the least the Mets could offer.
As Rubin points out, it is rare that players get a pay cut in their arbitration years, so it is likely Ike Davis would get a raise despite his awful season. Wherever that number ends up (probably close to $4 million), the Mets are apparently okay with spending it on Davis.
This is a bit of a surprise. By his own admission, Davis is a notorious slow starter. At least last season he rebounded to hit 32 home runs. He never rebounded this season and had to spend a month in the minors. What will happen when Davis almost certainly gets off to a poor start in 2014? Will the team and the fans be able to take it?
I think the Mets fear that if they cut Davis loose, he will resurrect his career with another team and come back to haunt them. That is certainly a possibility, as Davis obviously has shown potential. But the Mets could not be faulted for just letting him go, with the thinking that they just cannot deal with the slow starts and the uncertainty.
But it looks like the Mets will take the safe route here, which while might be prudent, may not lead to the best product on the field.