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Ike Davis or Adam LaRoche? How About Both?

By Howard Megdal ~ September 12th, 2009. Filed under: Howard Megdal, Mike Silva.

So when the offseason moves the Mets could make are evaluated, I think it will quickly become clear that few options are better than Adam LaRoche.

This is a result of several factors: a thin market, the therefore prohibitively expensive price tags players like Matt Holliday and Jason Bay are likely to have, and the open hole at first base.

But my inclination would have been to avoid doing this, since signing LaRoche to a long-term deal would block first baseman Ike Davis, a hitter who looks ready to help the Mets as soon as mid-2010.

But then I saw something magical in today’s box score of the World Cup match between the United States and Germany. No, not the three hits, including a double and home run from Davis. I already knew he could hit.

Rather, it was the RF next to his name.

This is extremely encouraging. Should Davis be able to play in right field, or left field, suddenly upgrading the Mets’ 2010 lineup becomes much easier.

Finding a first baseman who can hit is a relatively easy thing to do. So while I wouldn’t go crazy for LaRoche, adding him for reasonable money, a 2-3 year deal, gives you a decent floor of production there. His last three seasons have OPS+ marks of 123, 118 and 119, and you’d be getting his age 30-31 or 30-32 seasons with a 2-3 year deal.

I’m not married to the LaRoche idea. Consider my advocacy for “Signing Adam LaRoche” more of a stand-in for “Signing a first baseman likely to provide 115 OPS+ or better.”

Meanwhile, Davis in right or left means a corner outfield position with plus potential production could be covered for the next few years. Not only does Davis profile to have a plus bat at first base (meaning he has a plus-plus bat in left or right), but the inexpensive nature of such a player at a position that often demands high-salaried answers will free up cash for other areas.

Now, there are caveats here, obviously: Davis has just a pair of games in right field for Binghamton to his credit. He needs to show he is capable of playing the position well enough. And right field at Citi Field is no ordinary right field, so left may still be where he ends up. Even first base may be where he ends up-just look at Daniel Murphy, left fielder.

But if he excels in the World Cup at his new position, the Mets’ offseason will have gotten considerably easier.

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Howard Megdal is the Editor-in-Chief of The Perpetual Post. He covers baseball, basketball and soccer for Capital New York, MLBTradeRumors.com, New York Baseball Digest and has written for ESPN.com as well as numerous other publications. He is the Poet Laureate for SBNation New York. His book about Jewish baseball players, “The Baseball Talmud,” is available for purchase on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold. His next book, "Taking The Field", is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will publish in May 2011.

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4 Responses to Ike Davis or Adam LaRoche? How About Both?

  1. R U Kidding

    LaRoche sounds a lot better than Murphy. Konerko would fit nicely too. And I bet Uggla could play first base.

  2. Matt Pignataro


    Ike played RF while he attended ASU. It seems to me like your shocked he’s playing there at the World Cup.

  3. Howard Megdal

    Considering he’s played two games of RF in two years, that he’d be regularly deployed out there does surprise me.

  4. Chris Silva

    I was very impressed with Ike Davis. He is a major league bat and his mechanics are very good. I see him being a John Olerud type that hits with power. He does come across as the type to drive you nuts by taking too many pitches but overall great hitter. I’d like to see him be able to play 1B and OF at the big league level. RF is an ideal position because the Mets haven’t had a powerful RF since Strawberry. Interesting to see how he progress’ next year but I would expect to see him up with the big club around mid June. Despite what people say there is some prospects down there.

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