Why Nick Kingham Would Be Too Much to Pay For Ike Davis

On Friday morning, I read an article by Bob Smizik talking about how the Pittsburgh Pirates should be open to trading a top prospect for first baseman Ike Davis. There were parts of the article I agreed with, and parts I disagreed with. At the end of the article, Smizik asks a simple question to “all of those afflicted with PSS (Prospect Separation Syndrome)”: Why not trade Nick Kingham for Ike Davis?

I guess I would qualify as someone with PSS, although I’m not against trading prospects. I just think that in the majority of cases, it doesn’t make sense for a team like the Pirates to trade prospects. If you look at the Rays, they’ve been the most successful small market team in the majors because they’re constantly building with prospects and trading their top players away. They don’t make a big splash by trading a top prospect away. They trade an established player away for top prospects, then replace that established player with other top prospects that they usually acquired in a previous deal.

I talk about the Rays all the time on this site, as I think they should be a model for how the Pirates operate. It would be simple to just say “that’s not what the Rays would do” in response to the “why not Kingham for Davis” question. But I wanted to dig a little deeper and perhaps explain why that isn’t something the Rays would do.

I will first point out that most response articles are seen as a war between two authors, or attacking the other author. That’s not what is happening here. I like Bob Smizik. I don’t agree with all of his views, and I know he hasn’t agreed with all of mine. The entire purpose of sports talk is to have a healthy debate about these types of topics, because obviously that’s as far as we can go here. All of our disagreements in the past have fallen in that “healthy sports talk” area, and the conversation behind the scenes has been respectful. I look to continue that here by answering the question he posed at the end of his article. In this debate, Smizik put the ball in the court of anyone arguing for prospects. So I’ll pick up that ball and do…whatever it is people do with a basketball, because that expression is the only use I have for that sport. But I digress. Let’s get to the topic at hand.

The Value of Ike Davis

Ike Davis does have some promise. The analysis by Smizik doesn’t paint a full picture, but does show some of his value. He did hit 32 home runs in 2012, but he was a three true outcomes player. He had a .227/.308/.462 line with a 24% strikeout rate and a 10% walk rate. That’s not bad. By comparison, Pedro Alvarez had a .233/.296/.473 line in 2013, with a 30% strikeout rate and a 7.8% walk rate. In his best year, Davis looks exactly like Alvarez.

If you go the platoon route, Davis was even better in 2012. He had a .253/.345/.523 line against right-handers, and a .174/.225/.335 line against lefties. His strikeouts were higher against lefties (28% to 22%) and his walks were cut in half (6% to 12%).

Smizik also points out that Davis had a .954 OPS in the second half of the 2013 season after a horrible start (.505 OPS) in the first half. That is true, but sample size has to be considered. Davis had a monster month of August (.990 OPS), but also went down at the end of the month with an oblique injury. He missed the rest of the season with the injury, which limited him to 138 plate appearances in the second half. Out of those plate appearances, 94 were in his hot month of August.

We don’t know if Davis would have continued his hitting tear into September and into the 2014 season without the injury. But if there’s anything learned from Justin Morneau this past season, it’s that a hot month of August does not guarantee future success at the plate.

When it comes to Davis, I think his offensive upside amounts to his career numbers before 2013. He had a .252/.336/.461 line in that time, which is better than the 2012 numbers. He has also struggled against left-handers, so he could improve on those numbers in a platoon.

The one thing Smizik overlooked, and one thing a lot of people overlook, is the defense. Davis had good defensive numbers at first base in his rookie year, but the last two years have been poor. They haven’t been Garrett Jones bad, but they’re still poor.

Overall, Davis has similar offensive upside to Pedro Alvarez. However, his overall upside is lower. Alvarez plays a tougher position, so the same numbers at third base are going to be more valuable than Davis’ numbers at first. Davis doesn’t make up for this with defensive value, and that’s why his 2012 season was worth a 1.1 WAR, while Pedro Alvarez has been a 2.3 and 3.1 WAR player in each of the last two seasons with the same offensive numbers.

Nick Kingham profiles as a strong number three starter, and possibly a number two if he keeps improving.

Nick Kingham profiles as a strong number three starter, and possibly a number two if he keeps improving.

The Value of Nick Kingham

The reason Kingham comes up in this discussion is because Keith Law said the Pirates shouldn’t trade him for Davis. I don’t think there has been any actual talk between the Pirates and Mets involving these two players. Smizik uses the MLB.com top 100 rankings to say that Jameson Taillon (number 10), Gregory Polanco (13), Alen Hanson (40), Austin Meadows (69), Luis Heredia (76), and Tyler Glasnow (97) should be off-limits, but almost no one else should.

The problem here is that this is based entirely on one set of rankings, and I’m not even sure how recent these are. I know that MLB.com keeps running updates with their lists, but I don’t think they’ve actually started from scratch to come up with a fresh list. If they have, then I question why Tyler Glasnow is rated 97th and below Luis Heredia. I’d also question why Kingham isn’t on the top 100.

If you’ve read the site or the Prospect Guide over the years, then you’ll know that I’ve been higher on Nick Kingham than most. I had him as a top ten prospect in the system after his first season. He remained in the top ten after his first full season in West Virginia, where the overall numbers didn’t look top ten worthy. He jumped up the rankings with his performance this year in Bradenton and Altoona.

The numbers have been good with Kingham, but it’s the stuff that is more impressive. When the Pirates drafted him, he was your typical 88-92 MPH prep right-hander. Since then he has developed into a 92-95 MPH right-hander who tops out at 97-98. The fastball is thrown with a lot of downward movement, making it difficult to hit at his velocity. He’s got a curveball which looks like a plus pitch at times. His changeup is definitely above average. He also has plus command of all of his pitches. He profiles as a mid-rotation starter who can pitch 200 innings per year, and a possible number two starter if he continues improving his game every year.

Smizik points out that prospects aren’t guaranteed. That’s a point I make many times, although I also offer up that major league players aren’t even guaranteed. In Kingham’s case, you’ve got one of the safest prospects in the system. His stuff and his command is going to make him a major league starter, and he doesn’t need to do much to make it to his upside. He should spend the 2014 season in Triple-A working on improving the consistency of his secondary pitches, but after that he’s a candidate to arrive in late 2014 or in 2015. I’d say that the odds of Kingham making the majors are about the same as the odds of Davis bouncing back to his 2012 numbers. The comfort factor with Davis is that you can point to his previous MLB success. Kingham doesn’t have any MLB time, which makes him appear to be a risk on the surface. That risk goes away when you see his stuff live.

I wouldn’t deal Kingham for Davis because Kingham is one of the better prospects in the system. We have him rated higher than the MLB.com rankings, and it seems that Keith Law is in the same boat. Kingham is a guy who can come up and give 6.5 years of strong production in the rotation. He might not be Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon, but he stands out above the mid-to-back of the rotation candidates the Pirates will have arriving in the majors over the next few years.

I pointed out in the Davis write-up that he doesn’t have good defense. Kingham gives the Pirates a great potential rotation, slotting behind Cole, Taillon, and Glasnow. As we saw in 2013, great pitching and defense can be highly underrated. The Pirates had bad offensive numbers, but still won due to their pitching and defense. They weren’t the only team to do this, as the San Francisco Giants have won a World Series with this approach. That doesn’t mean the Pirates shouldn’t focus on offense. It does mean that they can’t afford to be trading a key pitcher like Kingham away, especially when he is much safer than other pitchers and so close to helping in the majors.

Andrew Lambo hit 32 homers in the upper levels of the minors last year. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Andrew Lambo hit 32 homers in the upper levels of the minors last year. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Alternatives

One thing that Smizik brings up is that Davis was a former top prospect, being rated number 62 in Baseball America’s top 100 in 2010. He also points out that the Pirates traded Alex Dickerson for Jaff Decker and Miles Mikolas earlier this off-season. He questioned why the Pirates could trade Dickerson for two players the Padres DFAd, but can’t trade Kingham for Davis.

One flaw here is that he’s using the MLB.com rankings to determine value. I’m not knocking those rankings, but I disagree that Alex Dickerson was the Pirates number 13 prospect, only a few spots behind Kingham (9th). We had Dickerson as the number 33 prospect in the 2013 Prospect Guide. He would have been the number 26 prospect in the system before the trade. He was never really the first baseman of the future. He was just the best option at first base in the short-term, in a farm system that doesn’t have a lot of true first base prospects.

Mentioning former top prospect statuses also brings up a gray area. Davis was the number 62 prospect in 2010, but Decker was number 82. Decker was a few years younger, and entering high-A ball, so he shouldn’t be expected to have the same MLB career to this point. However, this shows that you can’t evaluate guys based on past prospect rankings. In 2010, Davis and Decker had similar values. In 2014, Davis is hoping to bounce back from a bad season at the age of 26, while Decker is hoping to finally break into the majors and show why he once was a top prospect.

There’s another guy who has followed the same path. Andrew Lambo was the number 49 prospect prior to the 2009 season. Since then he has struggled, but in 2013 he was showing the bat that once made him a top prospect. In Double-A and Triple-A he combined for a .282/.347/.574 line with 32 homers. He was also doing this at the age of 24.

Lambo doesn’t have the MLB experience that Davis has. He doesn’t have much experience at first base, being limited to 41 games in his minor league career, plus some time this off-season. Both Lambo and Davis were once top prospects in the game, but the more important thing is where they stand now. Davis has put up some decent numbers in the majors, and is coming off a down year. Lambo is coming off a huge year in the minors, and looking to finally break into the majors and show that his new-found power in 2013 is legit.

If you’re looking for an alternative on the free agent market, you won’t find many good options right now. But the Pirates do have a good alternative at first base in their system, and that is Lambo. He doesn’t come with the comfort of previous MLB success, and he has the disclaimer that prospects aren’t guaranteed. This all brings us to the final section.

The Opportunity Cost

For those who didn’t take economics, opportunity cost is the added cost of a chosen option, compared to an alternative plan. In this case, I think a lot of people would agree that Ike Davis is a better option than the alternative, Andrew Lambo. But if the opportunity cost to go from Lambo to Davis is Nick Kingham, is that worth it?

Davis does have the previous MLB success. We don’t know if Lambo will do that, but this doesn’t mean we know Lambo won’t have that type of success. One thing that gets lost in the “prospects aren’t guaranteed” view is that prospects do work out. Lambo might not work out, but he’s the type of player who deserves an opportunity from the Pirates. Whether they’re coming off a losing season, or a contending season, the Pirates are always going to be a team that needs to give chances to guys who hit 32 homers in the upper levels of the minors at the age of 24.

Davis would be the safer option here, but if the opportunity cost to get that safety is Nick Kingham, then I’m not paying it. MLB deals are often viewed only in the scope of the upcoming season. The reality is that General Managers need to make moves that both balance the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, Lambo could match the production from Davis, but Davis is a safer option. In the long-term, Kingham and Lambo could be much more valuable than Davis, and I’d say the chances of the Pirates getting more value with the prospects over the long-term is higher. I wouldn’t play it safe in 2014 when it means that you’ve got a good chance of losing value in the long-term. Those are the types of moves that bring on phrases like “window to compete” and “rebuild in a few years”.

If it was a lesser prospect than Kingham, I might consider Ike Davis. Then again, my choice if they’re making a trade would be Justin Smoak. I’d also rather deal something that is easier to replace. Rather than dealing a potential mid-rotation starting pitcher, I’d deal a top, established reliever. If I had a choice between dealing a prospect like Kingham or a reliever like Justin Wilson (assuming the Pirates won’t give him a chance at starting), I’d deal Wilson. The Pirates have shown a great ability to find cheap relievers. If they could turn one of their current relievers into a safer first base option, and make Lambo a Plan B, that would be a good all-around plan. It would be safer in the short-term, and wouldn’t hurt them much, if at all, in the long-term.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • https://www.facebook.com/rbrider Robert Bruce Rider

    Tim, great points. Don’t know much about Kingham but respect your views, pitching is to valuable to give up.

    • challzoffdachainzzz

      I couldn’t agree more Tim. I know this is a different player to compare but the same principle is at work, I preach patience to my bandwagon friends who want to blow up the entire system in order to bring in David Price, The Pirates need to emulate the Rays, not become another team that feeds their machine. To Mr. Smizik is say, PSS is less an affliction than it is an immunization, in the long run it makes the Pirates a stronger team.

  • Bucco_Joe

    I don’t want Ike Davis on this team, we already have too many guys on this roster that swing and miss at an alarming rate. This team is starting the season with the dynamic duo of Lambo and Gaby at first, along with Tabata and Snider in right. Hopefully Polanco is ready sooner than later, because both right field and first base offensive wastelands at this point.

    Can you give me a non-economic reason why we should follow the Tampa Bay model? I means congrats for them being able to draft well, but at the end of the day how many World Series have they won? I would hope this front office would have higher expectations than just having a winning record, The two markets have little in common, TB has drawn flies despite having winning teams, their attendance number would be even worse if not for Yankee and Red Sox fans bumping up the numbers when their teams play. Pittsburgh will never be top 5 or 10 in salaries, but it is time to stop crying the small market blues.

    • jaygray007

      I’m not tim, but i’ll take a stab at your 2nd paragraph.

      All of baseball is economic, even the non-economic parts. We as fans can say “what do we care if they overpay for talent? it’s not our money!” but the thing is that every dollar a team spends on one player is a dollar that they can’t spend on another player. Even the baseball decisions are economic.

      And can we really say that the Rays aren’t something to emulate just because they haven’t won a world series in the 5ish years that they’ve been good? really? that’s extremely unfair.

      The playoffs are a crapshoot. The best team can get knocked out in the 1st round. The worst team can go to the world series. heck, place the Houston Astros in the playoffs last year, and they mightve stolen a series or two. Losing in the playoff doesnt indicate some massive mental problem with your team. the best teams win 60% of the time, the worst teams win 40% of the time. All you can ask of your GM is to send your team to the playoffs as often as possible. that’s their lottery ticket. only one team can win the world series.

      And i don’t understand your point about attendance. The Rays have built a winner in spite of the fact that they don’t have fans. how is that not impressive? They don’t have low attendance because of the way they build their team. they build their team this way because of low attendance

      and i dont think anybody here is singing small market blues either, whatever that means

    • Bridgevillebuc

      How can any team be gauged on World Series won? If all things were even, every team would win the World series once every 30 years. Economically baseball is way tilted towards the big market teams. So in essence maybe once every 40 years for small market teams and once every 10 years for the big market would be the over/under for success….

      Thems the small market blues…

    • buster09

      BJ : You know what the nuns in my parochial elementary school used to scream at my class when they though we weren’ paying enough attention ? No ? ” WAKE UP ! “

  • weltytowngang

    In my mind, I summed up your view as: I have more hope in a prospect than I do a rebound. If rebounds were so certain, more people would be jumping on them and trading prospects for them. I don’t see many doing that. Most rebounds hopefuls are signed as fa, i.e. money is more easily replaced than prospects.

    • piratemike

      Not speaking for Tim but I see this more as not over paying for a rebound. Tim said he not opposed to trading prospects.

      • weltytowngang

        I’m not opposed to trading prospects but there would have to be more certainty and more payback than this one would afford.

  • piratemike

    Thanks Tim, as someone who” suffers” from PSS I can rest better.

  • jaygray007

    This goes along with the “ZOMG THE PIRATES HAVE A SMALL WINDOW THIS IS THEIR ONLY CHANCE EVER TO BE GOOOOOD.”

    A team that can afford to go out and buy their starting rotation would be fine going ahead and trading kingham for davis. it’s probably a slight overpay, but it’s really not that silly. But it’d be silly for the buccos.

    Let’s just say that there’s a 10% chance at Kingham being a #2 type, a 60 pct chance at a #3 type, and a 30% chance at either #5 or an up-and-down guy. The pirates can’t afford to throw away a 70% chance of having a good major league pitcher for league minimum for 3 years salary willy nilly.

    kingham is paying non-bounceback prices for a bounceback option. paying kingham for a non-bounceback is a different story.

    • emjayinTN

      jay: The whole point is do we really need to add another 1B? If the price is fair and reasonable go get it, but not for a SP. Gaby Sanchez has had excellent seasons in the majors

      2010 572 AB’s 37 Doubles 19 HR’s 85 RBI’s 1.9 WAR
      2011 572 AB’s 35 Doubles 19 HR’s 78 RBI’s 2.9 WAR

      2012 was his worst and got him traded to the Pirates for a very reasonable package. he was horrible at Miami and did a lot better with the Pirates.

      2013 264 AB’s 18 Doubles 7 HR’s 36 RBI’s – excellent contact 13.8% W’s/ 15.9% K’s 0.8 WAR

      His 2013 slash was .254/.361/.402/.762 against mostly LHP’s, but in 2010 and 2011 he had OPS numbers of .742 against RHP’s and over .900 against LHP’s. This has been a solid defender and a Top 5 guy in 2011. In my opinion, I go into 2014 with Gaby as the 1B against both sides with the possibility of using Neil Walker as the 1B in 20-30 games. Next option is using Lambo against RHP’s if he can handle the position defensively (which I doubt). Then, Option 3 is Mitch Moreland, but not for much. These guys are sitting on people they have to pay not to play and they think they are in the driver’s seat – we should not be in any type of hurry to do anything.

  • IC Bob

    I personally do not like the idea of trading Kingham for Davis or any other of the remaining 1B options. At this point I think patience will be rewarded. That said I am not a fan of Lambo either. Also Every person on here who is anti trading Kingham including myself said the same thing about McPherson two years ago when he appeared to a future stud. After issues with his arm and other things we released him 6 weeks ago. There is absolutely no guarantee that Kingham or any other minor league pitcher will be successful. If the right trade comes along I would hope that we would consider trading from our minor league pitchers. I guess the key is the right trade and I am not sure Davis would be that guy.

    • piratemike

      I am not too sure about the details but I think the Pirates released him with the belief that he could be resigned.
      I have faith that he will regain his former status if he hasn’t already.

      • Y2JGQ2

        He already was resigned. look at the post from earlier in the week, he was one of the minor league signees

        • piratemike

          Maybe my post was unclear or you just read it wrong. I know he resigned.
          I was unsure of the reason he was cut, if it was to clear the 40 man or what but because he wouldn’t be able to pitch until later in the year teams were unlikely to sign him. So the Pirates felt safe in cutting him knowing they could resign him.
          I don’t think the Pirates have lost faith in him.

          • jon6er

            IC Bob spends so much time knocking Lambo I think Andrew stole his girlfriend. I mean he leads the posting league in Lambo bashing.

    • Piratefan13

      Why are you not a fan of Lambo? Based on his cameo appearances for the team this past summer? I would be a bit nervous going into the season without a capable platoon partner for Sanchez but I wouldn’t be devastated. I would like to get a good long look at Lambo before saying I’m not a fan of his. 30+ HR’s in the minors doesn’t mean success at the ML level, but it sure earns a looksee.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    I would not trade Kingham or Justin Wilson straight up for Ike Davis. I would trade a Jeff Locke or a Bryan Morris for Ike Davis. We generally do not need a second player who may hit 30 HRs, but will hit .220 and strikeout 150 times – while playing mediocre at best defense.

    I think Lambo has earned a shot in RF or at 1B.

    • Piratefan13

      I am dumbfounded by the easy, flippant way Pirate fans decided to cut Locke loose (tied to just about every trade the fans have conjured up) after last seasons 2nd half collapse. Locke was masterful when he was controlling his fastball, you don’t trade a guy like him away, you find a way sharpen his control and you have another Wandy Rodriguez type pitcher that is a whole lot younger and cheaper.

  • emjayinTN

    Tim: You know my feelings about this because I have found every possible forum to bring up the fact that Nick Kingham pitched all of 2013 as a 21 year old at Hi A 6-3, 3.09 ERA in 13 Starts, and 3-3, 2.70 ERA at AA in 12 more starts. His value is rising fast and the value of Ike Davis is going in the other direction since his 2012 season. How much can the Pirates give to NY without the Commish wanting to investigate – Vic Black and Dilson Herrera in 2013 for Byrd. If I am NH and I am going to make a trade, it would be with an AL team that we do not have to play on an annual basis, and especially if we even consider sending off a kid like Kingham. He was thought to have an upside of a #3 innings-eater, but since his velocity has climbed to mid to upper 90′s, he is one of the guys that a lot of teams would like to have right now, and his upside projection is still moving up.

    Why are the Mets so anxious to unload Ike Davis? If they thought about him what they are trying to sell to other teams, they would not want to let him go. But I think the defensive end of it would be enough to let him go to an AL team who might get more use when taking a DH possibility into consideration. My preference is Mitch Moreland who I see as somebody with the makeup to blend well with the Pirates existing team chemistry. Regardless of Moreland, Davis, or Smoak, none of them is worth more than Tabata, or Mel Rojas and a lower-tiered SP/RP. No SP’s especially none that are going to be Top 100 Prospects now or in the near future.

  • Monkshot

    I definitely have PSS, I admit I still check on Dilson Herrera from time to time.

    I think you go with what you have and then mid season see what’s available if 1st becomes the hole it appears to be.

  • leadoff

    Smizik is a great pot stirrer, but baseball is not his forte. Nobody that knows anything about the Pirate system would even entertain the idea of moving a pitcher like Kingham for Ike Davis, when he could be had for much less. Using one or two stats to make a case is a very poor way to determine a trade, knowing what you have to trade is very important, apparently in Pittsburgh the Pirate farm is still an unknown. Back in 1980′s or back to the beginning of farm systems a farm usually had a hot shot that was a sure bet to make the majors and many times that kid bombed when he got to the major league level, that is the thinking that occurs in Pittsburgh, they are stuck in the past and think this Pirate organization has a couple of hot shots that will or could fail, yes they can, but they don’t have one or two, try 15 or 20 and will they all fail? not going to happen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

      leadoff…I disagree….I think Bob (the ex-Bucco Beat writer) does a fine job on baseball.

      I don’t always agree with him, but at least his opinions are well thought out…

      jmho

  • buster09

    ” That risk goes away when you see his stuff live.” That is Bob Smizik’s biggest problem,he doesn’t see these young guys. I pretty much told him that in several of my replies to that very blog subject. I also told him that anyone who would rate a 19 year old that hasn’t pitched above A- much higher than Kingham,should knock themselves out. I have seen Kingham pitch a number of times in Bradenton and Altoona,and you don’t trade prospects liker him for Ike Davis. Or Justin Smoak. Or Mitch Moreland. Actually,if you read the entire comment list,in one of his reply to me regarding Dickerson,he admits that he doesn’t know about prospects he has never seen,all he does is read MLB.Com

  • weltytowngang

    With all this said about 1B, I would rather add a good hitting, good fielding SS. Since Nh doesn’t say anything about such things until they have actually occurred, maybe we’ll get a SS.

    • Y2JGQ2

      That would be fantastic. That’s something actually worth giving up one of our 14 million pitching prospects.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

    “I like Bob Smizik. I don’t agree with all of his views, and I know he hasn’t agreed with all of mine.”

    My sentiments completely. And I also agree that, behind the scenes, he is an even nicer guy….jmho.

    And, we had an email exchange on this very subject.

    And, I, too, if we trade for a 1b, want Smoak.

    • buster09

      Likeing Bob Smizik and knowing that he is very un-informed on current Pirate Prospects other than the top 1 or 2,is an entirely different conversation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

    Q: Why not trade Nick Kingham for Ike Davis?
    A: because the Mets will probably settle for Brandon Cumpton or Stolmy Pimentel.

  • AlvarezRiverBall

    Former top 70 prospects since 2007 who were in the Pirates system at some point who also leave you scratching your head as to how they were ever ranked that high or why would Huntington go after them after they have failed as prospects: Travis Snider #6, Lambo #49, Tim Alderson #45, Gorkys #62, Brandon Wood #8, Tabata #27, Felix Pie #49, Brad Lincoln #69 and Dallas MacPherson if you go back further.
    This shows that these top 100 lists are not exact science and many of the top 30 players from 2013′s list will be busts. That being said, we dont’ need someone else’s busts. Huntington has gone after top prospects before who are busts but normally at a minor league level. Snider would be the exception and he has not panned out. We don’t need Davis to do the same. We also don’t need 200 strikeouts from 2 players each in the same lineup. Don’t look at Davis’ numbers, look at his swing mechanics and it’s easy to see this guy is too much of a project to invest a promising pitching prospect. I see Huntington holding out until the asking price drops to a lower level prosect with a high upside. As Tim has mentioned before, this is a buyers market at 1st Base and the Mets will eventually trade Davis because they want Duda starting and you don’t want to waste a roster spot on your bench with a guy who only play first base. Other than the 2013 Pirates (Gaby Sanchez) that is a very uncommon roster move. I heard a whole 30 minute talking point over the summer on MLB Radio Power Alley about the Pirates having Gaby Sanchez on their bench for him only to play 1B and how it doesn’t make sense.

    • emjayinTN

      ARB: Excellent point about the swing mechanics – that drop before the swing is a bad habit, too many moving parts. Gaby Sanchez is much more than a LHP-hitting specialist and his numbers from 2010 and 2011 show it. He has been a strong hitter against both LHP’s and RHP’s in his career – .742 OPS against RHP’s in ’10 and ’11, but much better .900+ OPS against LHP’s during those years. He had a bad experience in 2012, and the Pirates got him for next to nothing. Because they already had Garrett Jones who could not hit LHP’s, Sanchez was only used as a specialist against LHP’s and as a defensive replacement for Jones in late innings. Because of the numbers from his recent past, I do not see where some fans feel we HAVE to make a move to get another first baseman. I would be happy with Gaby Sanchez as THE First Baseman to start the season, and I would like to see Neil Walker start to make a transition to 1B in preparation for the possible promotion of switchhitting leadoff MI, Alen Hanson, in 2015. Walker has the skillset to play any infield position, and getting him 20-30 starts at 1B in 2014 would be a nice move by the Pirates. Since NH was a pretty good 1B in college at Amherst, I think he knows all of this.

  • joe g.

    Here’s an idea, what about finding a platoon with Gaby that hits for a descent average? I don’t care if he comes from outside or within the organization, but it would be nice to find a player who hits for average with a descent number of doubles and plays solid defense. Home runs be damned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrishale525 Chris Hale

    I agree on all counts. I really do not think this season’s success will depend on offense. If we pitch with the best of them we will be in the running with the best of them. I really think another SP is what they should be trying to acquire. Depth . I really am not really comfortable with our SP. Liriano as good as he was is a big question mark to be anything close to the 2013 version. Gerrit Cole you expect to be good but he is still just going into his first full season as a ML’er. Morton should be as good as ever but you just don’t know. He has really never been consistent. The big question mark is Wandy (his health) and Locke . What kind of pitcher is he really? Volquez has good stuff but what will he be? A guy like Aj or someone like him would really make me feel a lot better. There’s no 1Bmen out there who is going o help us as much as a SP. You can never have enough. Let;s not forget we started last year with a rotation of Burnett,Wandy,JMac,Locke and Sanchez. We had No clue what we’d get from Liriano

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.a.capernicus Nick A. Capernicus

    I didn’t even need to read this article not giving up are 3rd best arm prospect for a platoon player sent down last year

  • Y2JGQ2

    Maybe we can trade Volquez for Ike Davis…..haha. Undo one error at least

  • rohabi

    FYI: I think the phrase, “the ball is in your court”, is a tennis reference, not basketball. Just thought I’d throw that out there. And no, the Pirates should absolutely not even entertain the thought of giving up Kingham for Davis.

  • csnumber23

    No way would I trade Kingham for Davis. I like Davis and would like to see us acquire him but not for Kingham. Not a surprise, I very rarely agree with Bob Smizick’s articles.

    Tim, were you saying you would give Justin Wilson for Davis? I would not!

    Pimentel or Cumpton with maybe Morris should be enough to get Davis. I prefer Davis to Smoak. I f we get Smoak we may as well trade Gaby Sanchez because Smoak is a switch hitter. Not great from either side. Gabby Sanchez full time is certainly not the answer. Lambo? Maybe but I’m not convinced yet.

  • https://profiles.google.com/105668650510920614054 Brian Bernard

    I’ve commented on my position of being just fine with Gaby taking the majority of playing time in 2014 – and I still feel this way, but another option I’d be open to is getting Russell Martin some time there this year.
    It would open the door to Sanchez being on the roster and getting additional PT behind the plate.
    I’m not really in favor of trading young talent for a mid-range vet. If we’re going to trade players, I believe in trading for elite talent. The hit in those cases is cost value, but what you get in return is elite performance not maybe performance. So, in the context of getting a Stanton, or a Price – ok, then yes a window is created but you are also adding performance certainty – or as close to such a thing as you can get.

  • Nuke Laloosh

    A few remarks on this whole notion of trading Kingham for Davis:
    One, you can never have enough pitching and trading an upward trending prospect is not the smart move here Bob! Two, Lambo deserves the opportunity. Three, Riverball makes a good point and most of those on the list were position players. I was an Alex Dickerson fan and the fact that he is gone gives them little to no options in the minors now. I hope that one doesn’t come back to bite them.

  • leadoff

    Kingham will start in AAA this year and be ready for the majors mid year and certainly in 2015, Wandy will be gone, that should give them Cole, Taillon, Kingham, Morton and Cumpton-Locke-Pimentel-Volquez, if they trade Kingham, they have to go out and get another talent like him and we know what that will cost them. Glasnow probably will be in AAA in 2015, so his appearance probably won’t be until 2016. Then the staff should look like Cole, Taillon, Kingham, Morton, Glasnow, wonder who the 2-3-4-5 pitchers are out of this group? So if you look ahead you can see how valuable Kingham is to the near future for the Pirates.

  • http://wkkortas.wordpress.com wkkortas

    While Davis screams bounce-back candidate and would be a great fit for PNC, I think if the Pirates are patient, he could be had for significantly less than Kingham. Come to think of it, if the Mets want to off-load Lucas Duda, he’d be a good platoon option at first, with the added benefit of being cheaper than Davis.

  • CalipariFan506

    Same old argument we are seeing more and more. Rays vs Brewers philiosophy.

    I don’t think Smoak, Davis or Moreland are much more than a 1WAR guy and that is being generous for them IMO. Lambo would be about replacement level. The cost to get one of them doesn’t make up for the marginal improvement we would see on the field.

    I’m kind of hoping we do the same as the guy said above and look for a SS. Move Mercer to 2B, Walker to 1B and possibly get more improvement there. The way Arizona is trading young players I’d really see if we could get Gregorious for a guy like Liriano.

  • oldballs

    I understand it is “simply a rumor,” but NYM asked about Tyler Thornburg for Ike Davis.

    Thornburg, 25 years old, 3rd rounder, 2010 (college) 5’11′, 190lbs. Baseball America (Tom Hardicourt) #2 Brewers prospect, 2013, 2016 projected #4 starter… Low expectations for a #2 prospect, also realize that the listed 2016 projected #3 starter is Marco Estrada – that with the full knowledge Estrada can’t pitch against the Pirates every start.

    Understanding the Brewers have little to zero impact prospects, wouldn’t Brandon Cumpton be a more comparable ‘prospect’ (comparable to Thornburg) for the Mets to inquire about from the Pirates?

    I understand… why wouldn’t the Mets aim high and ask the Pirates about Kingham… but aim high consistently if you want to build a market for Ike Davis… the Mets really should have asked the Brewers for Braun because asking about Thornburg is simply not aiming high, it is an Ike Davis salary dump, probably with expectation of a counter offer from the Brewers who would send a Quincy Latimore type (well… ok, assume QL wouldn’t be a top 10 prospect for the Brewers – their system is really that bad) and the Brewers should expect cash from the Mets.

    If the Mets do trade Ike Davis, it will be a salary dump, which is a joke, because they had been expected to spend this offseason. That should tell you how much Ike Davis is worth to the Mets…

  • connolly21

    Could they should they move BELL to first base