Ike Davis: From Swank To Skank (And Back?)

Games, Management, MiLB, Players, Prospects

The reaction to Ike Davis’s reported unhappiness that Zach Lutz was promoted over him when Lucas Duda went on the disabled list elicited disgust at Davis’s “selfishness” and “diva” behaviors. With Davis hitting .161 for the Mets, the demotion to Triple A was warranted. He got off to a slow start for Las Vegas, but is hitting now and is expected to be back with the Mets within days.

Was Davis right to be irritated? I don’t think it would’ve been a positive response had he nodded his head agreeably when hearing that it was Lutz instead of him. Davis was probably packing his bags and getting ready for a flight to Philadelphia when he heard of Duda’s injury and then had to recalibrate himself for more time spent in Las Vegas, a place that he doesn’t want to be as a player. Getting past the embarrassment of having been demoted after three full years in the majors and 32 homers last season, that the remaining cachet he has is as a former big leaguer who was deemed not good enough to be in the everyday lineup for the Mets—the METS!!!, and that he’s in Triple A where Ron Darling pointedly and honestly said on a recent Mets broadcast that “no one wants to be,” is anyone surprised that Davis is getting antsy and expected to get the call when Duda got hurt? Stunned that he saw a 27-year-old non-prospect like Lutz called up instead and got annoyed?

Davis enjoys the big league life and all it entails. He likes the sway and luxury. Although Las Vegas is far more appetizing toward that end than most other Triple A venues, he still doesn’t want to be there. Nor should he. While he might have the residue of name recognition and money to enjoy a city like Las Vegas as a nominal celebrity, there’s a difference between a group of big league players going to gamble and have dinner on an off-day and being treated like big leaguers and a guy who was sent to the town to fix that .161 average, nonexistent power and clouded head. It’s the fine line between swank and skank and Davis has had enough of the skank and wants to return to the swank of big league life.

Would it be preferable for Davis to plaster on a wide-eyed and blatantly phony smile that would be more fitting for a ventriloquist dummy and through clenched teeth say to Lutz, “I’m so happy for you,” extending a handshake so tight that one would think he was trying to break his hand? Or is it better for Davis to say, “Enough of this. Call me up already instead of a fringe big leaguer whose ceiling is Triple A,” and look like a whiner?

He didn’t want to go to Triple A in the first place. Why is there shock and indignation that he doesn’t want to stay there?

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4 thoughts on “Ike Davis: From Swank To Skank (And Back?)

  1. Why are you so hard on Lutz? To call Zach Lutz “a fringe big leaguer whose ceiling is Triple A” is an unfair assumption. You’re not a scout. Lutz has been a career minor leaguer because he plays third base,a position aptly handled by David Wright for nearly a decade. Lutz has been stuck in the minors because of the position he plays and no other reason.

    To say Ike Davis was struggling is a severe understatement…he was downright awful. He had a long leash and still managed to play his way out of the big leagues,at least for the time being. In no way,shape or form should Duda’s injury warrant a return to the major leagues for Davis. Lutz deserves the shot instead. Lets be honest with ourselves…Lutz can’t possibly perform as poorly as Davis did. So lighten up on the kid,lets see what he can do before you dismiss him in favor of Ike “Out” Davis. I’m sure you know what happens when you assume…

    1. I love the blanket, final word statement of “you’re not a scout” as if the designation or lack thereof would somehow either validate or invalidate my analysis of the player. So if I were walking around with a stopwatch and a form to present to my bosses as to Lutz’s viability as a big leaguer, then it would be okay for me to say he’s a fringe big leaguer? Being hired as a scout (or a GM or as commissioner or as anything in a sports front office) doesn’t automatically imply expertise. That’s a strawman.
      Players who are 27 and in Triple A for almost four years are not prospects nor are they legitimate replacements for a player like Davis who’s hit 30+ homers and still has the potential to be an All-Star even if he’s been this dreadful. The “he can’t possibly perform as poorly” isn’t much of an argument either. Few players could perform as poorly as Davis did for the first three months of the season. That’s how he ended up in Triple A.

  2. Lutz has had what was once a promising career derailed by repeated injuries of various kinds; he’s not a no-talent scrub, he’s what Travis D’Arnaud could become in two years if he (Travis) doesn’t start having better luck. Also, he’s a bench piece, in all likelihood, if he’s anything. They needed a DH with the CHW series up, and they’d be facing two lefties, plus a whole bunch more coming up, and this is probably Lutz’s last chance to make something of himself as a Met; if he can’t cut it, he goes the way of Collin Cowgill.

    Yeah, I’d expect Ike to have some feelings about being passed over in a situation like that, just like I would have expected Zack Wheeler to be a little irked that Collin McHugh got the call before he did. But in the case of both Wheeler and Davis, they are considered potential building blocks for the organization, and once they’re up, they’re not going down again. Lutz, like McHugh before him, is a young journeyman on his last legs with the organization, hoping to hook on as a support player before they give up on him entirely or relegate him permanently to AAA filler. He pretty much has until Duda returns from the DL, and that’s probably not much time.

    So would I expect Ike to hate the fact that Lutz was promoted and he wasn’t? Yeah, I would. It’s probably super-humiliating for him to be down there. And if he personally dislikes Zach Lutz (very possible), that probably just makes him feel even worse. But they want whatever they do with him to be a permanent fix, one that will make him a 30-HR guy for years to come, and they’re taking that process very seriously. Even if he doesn’t like it, hopefully he understands that.

    1. No talent scrubs don’t make it all the way up to Triple A. He’s got talent, but he’s a hair short of being a big leaguer, so he’s relegated to Triple A and the 26th-28th guy in the organization. Not good enough for a consistent spot on the big league roster, but with some ability making it worthwhile to keep him around. I dunno if I’d put him and d’Arnaud in the same category. Plus d’Arnaud plays a position that makes it worthwhile to keep him around even if he stagnates.
      It could’ve been Ike Davis’s best friend in the world and he would’ve been mad that he wasn’t getting the call when he was expected to. Davis will be back in a few days. Let him play angry for awhile. Maybe it’ll help.

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