Pirates Trade For Ike Davis

The Pittsburgh Pirates have traded for first baseman Ike Davis, per a team press release. Chris Cotillo first reported that a deal was done. The Pirates gave up minor league reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named later to get Davis.

Davis currently has a .742 OPS in 30 plate appearances this year. In his career, he has an .828 OPS against right-handers, which is the role in the first base platoon that he is expected to cover. Davis seemed likely to be traded by the Mets, since he was making $3.5 M this year, and the Mets are going with Lucas Duda as their primary first baseman.

This move spells the end for Travis Ishikawa, who had a .664 OPS in 37 plate appearances for the Pirates. Ishikawa didn’t look like a good option at the start of the season, but won the job due to the offensive struggles from Andrew Lambo. Since then, Lambo has been hitting well with Indianapolis, but this trade means he’s not going to get a shot any time soon.

Taking Thornton in the deal is interesting, since he could have been had for free in the Rule 5 draft over the off-season. He’s a good relief prospect, capable of being a middle reliever in the majors. He doesn’t have the best stuff, but gets strong results off his sinker, generating one of the best ground ball rates in the system last year. I wrote in detail about Thornton during the Rule 5 draft. The fact that the Mets traded Davis for him makes me think the PTBNL could be more than your usual throw-in or cash considerations.

The timing of the deal makes me think that the PTBNL could be a 2013 draft pick. Draft picks can’t be traded until one year after they have signed. Last year the Pirates had signed all of their picks by July 8th. The decision for a player to be named later can be held for six months. That means any player currently in the organization would qualify for PTBNL status.

That’s really the only way the PTBNL makes sense. It’s possible that the Mets are deciding from a non-2013 pick who could be dealt at any time. But since they’ve been talking Ike Davis with the Pirates all off-season, it seems unlikely that they’d make a deal now, without knowing who they’re getting. If the PTBNL is a draft pick, then they probably already know who that player is.

As for the value of Davis, I wrote about him back in December, pointing out that he’s not worth a top prospect. He does have some value as a guy with power, and the offensive upside to be similar to Pedro Alvarez on the right side of the infield (low average and high strikeout rate included). His defense has struggled the last two years, so don’t expect a lot of value there. He will be a better fielder than Garrett Jones, but won’t add much value to his game. Offensively, I think he’ll be helped in a platoon, since he has struggled in his career against left-handers. He could be capable of putting up an OPS over .800 if everything goes right, but that’s not a guarantee.

It’s hard to fully judge the deal without knowing who the PTBNL is, and without knowing what you’re getting from Davis.

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.

Share This Post On
  • reddfoxx39

    Love it…..
    Any guess on who we gave up?

  • Monsoon Harvard

    Thank you for confirmation. Saw it on MLB Trade Rumors and then nobody else is reporting it. I wonder who they gave up.

    • KauaiCoffee

      Up on whom they gave.

  • Monsoon Harvard

    Zack Thornton & Player to be named later – Greg Brown reports on pirates radio.

    • Lee Young

      wow…they could’ve had Thornton in the Rule V draft.

      • Monkshot

        Good point, could it be Lambo in return? The Mets need OF help right?

    • Matt Beam

      excellent, way to wait the Mets out on this one, sounds like very low risk/sacrifice, potential high reward, wonder if Lambo goes back to RF, Snider keeps hitting and we’ll be able to get more in return for him than we just gave up for Ike when it’s time for Polanco

  • Lee Young

    Wow! That came out of nowhere!!!

  • Hawbs2

    Any idea who PTBN could be and some background on Thornton?

  • Remember92

    Does an injured player have to listed as an PTBNL? If that is the case I was thinking possibly Clay Holmes along with Thornton…

  • wmcclurg

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 1m
    hearing the PTBNL in ike deal is fairly significant. so there’s that. #mets #bucs

  • hinkdog1

    Mets fan here. Best of luck to Ike. He is a great guy, don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad word about him. He still needs to find his lost mojo, but he has the potential to be a really good player. I think a fresh start in a new town will do him good. Just hope we get good value in return.

    • Leefoo Rug Bug

      I read on Amazin’ Avenue that several bloggers thought he was a head case.

      I hope you’re correct, hinkdog.

      • MetsFAN660

        Ike got off to a terrible start in ’12, but recovered nicely. Last year was a disaster. He is really strong, and can still hit 25-30 bombs. He is also an elite 1B. What’s more is that he’s a great guy, and he speaks like a human being, not some programmed robot. Seriously, you guys are gonna love him. Just hoping the Mets got back something really good for him, because whenever you deal a guy who’s underperformed like he has, you’ve got huge potential to look stupid. I see that a lot of you are worried that it’s Jacoby Jones, and he would work for me. But when the Mets were shopping him over the winter they were asking for a top pitching prospect. Glasnow?

        • Remember92

          The Pirates were willing to part with only one of Taillon or Glasnow for Stanton last year per the rumor mill. And Glasnow has only increased his stock tremendously. He is a top 25 prospect in the game. No way you get a top 25 guy for Davis. Glasnow hit 100 mph 7 times in his first rehab start. A beast that isn’t going anywhere.

          • MetsFAN660

            Forgot you lost Taillon.

  • csnumber23

    I love it, Huntington strikes again! Not sure on the player named but I can’t imagine it being anything that great. If it is a 2013 draft pick, we know it isn’t Meadows or Mcguire.

    By the way, there were a lot of people on this site saying Volquez was the worst signing ever. I know it’s early but he looks well worth the 5 mil he got. I for one liked the signing from the start and I think he will be a solid 4 guy this year.

    • Leefoo Rug Bug

      I sure thought EV would suck. Ray is a miracle man!

  • http://www.acme-tv.com LongJohnSilver

    Perhaps the PTBNL is either Snider or Tabata? That would also make sense as then the Pirates could call up Polanco.
    Just a random thought. I still believe we had our first baseman but let him go, but that is my opinion only. I’m not sure how much of an upgrade Davis is.

    • csnumber23

      That would make sense but I think the Mets would want one of them now and wouldn’t wait for us to call up Polanco. I think it is a 2013 draft pick, maybe Jacoby Jones. Also, who do think was our first baseman we gave up? If you are talking about Dickerson, I disagree.

      • http://www.acme-tv.com LongJohnSilver

        No, it would be Morneau. I know that is not a popular thought here, but its my opinion.

        • csnumber23

          Ok yeah I was hoping we brought him back too. I like Ike better long term but Morneau better short term.

        • impliedi

          I thought you were going to say Garrett Jones!

        • bucsws2014

          He’s off to a nice start. 950+ OPS. His 2 HRs this year came at Petco, so yo can’t even say Coors has helped his power #s.

  • impliedi

    I assume we’re talking McGuire or Meadows? If it’s a “fairly significant return” PTBNL, that is likely to be a 2013 draft pick, and after what the Mets were originally asking for …. one of those 2 would be the only ones to really fit the bill

    • csnumber23

      No way it’s McGuire or Meadows.

    • SteveW

      Chance of it being either of those two is less than zero,

      • impliedi

        Oh, I agree, I’m just saying that if we take everything at face value, “fairly significant” would mean someone near the top. Personally, I think that wording is coming from the Mets front office to Heyman and it will end up being someone “less significant”!!

  • Monsoon Harvard

    I agree with Tim, the chatter seems to point to it being a 2013 draft pick who can’t be named yet. No way will it be one of the top picks though. Forget McGuire & Meadows, they wouldn’t give either up for player like Davis.
    I think its one of the pitchers from the draft.

    • Nickmid13

      Maybe one of the lefties? I can’t think of anyone else that could be ‘fairly significant’.

    • csnumber23

      I agree, I think it might be Jacoby Jones or possibly Blake Taylor.

      • Monsoon Harvard

        I really hope it isn’t JaCoby Jones.

        • csnumber23

          Me too but I know the Mets are looking for SS prospects

          • Monsoon Harvard

            Pirates have Adam Frazier, a SS. He hits good but has no power (yet at least). Wasn’t he in last year’s draft?

            • csnumber23

              Yeah, I hope it’s him before Jones.

        • impliedi

          I don’t think Jones or Taylor would warrant a “significant return” comment.

          • csnumber23

            I do, they were 2nd and 3rd round picks last year.

          • Monsoon Harvard

            I think any player from a draft only a year ago could be considered significant. This short of a time frame is too early to know who is a prospect or not.

    • R Edwards

      If they give up Jacoby Jones or Blake Taylor, along with Thornton, for a guy like Ike Davis, than this was a panic move – and a poor one at that.

  • https://www.facebook.com/clementewall21 N_Cap

    Ptbn maybe tabby until they see he is for sure healthy

    • Ericfg

      I’m fine with that. Certainly not Jacoby Jones, Meadows or Mcguire, though. Heredia I’m good with; I nsee weight issues derailing him in the future.

      • https://www.facebook.com/clementewall21 N_Cap

        Yeah plus it seems as though his progression has not matched up with expectation

  • https://www.facebook.com/clementewall21 N_Cap

    Heredia pending shoulder?

    • csnumber23

      Certainly possible but I hope not.

  • TheSharkTankisNasty

    Does anyone have any idea of what the PTBNL could be? I’ve read the comments of people on twitter guessing its Meadows, McGuire, Hanson, Bell, Dickson, or Blake Taylor. I mean, its probably a 2013 draft pick because of the PTBNL tag. Who could it be?

    • TheSharkTankisNasty

      I doubt its Meadows or McGuire. I think maybe JaCoby Jones but I really hope not. Maybe Cody Dickson?

    • csnumber23

      I say no way on Meadows, McGuire, Hanson, Bell. I think it is Jacoby Jones but I hope not. The other I think it could be is Blake Taylor. Of course these are just guesses.

  • lonleylibertarian

    Worried that the PTBNL is going to be a bit better than he should be – someone like Jacoby Jones – Jones is a 2013 pick. He is a very good athlete and seems to have the potential to get to bigs soon – and at a couple of different positions – SS or CF…

    But as much as I hated – and still hate Ike Davis, I am officially putting on my rose colored glasses and drinking the official Bucco Kooaid and projecting 25+ HRs and a 265+ BA for Ike – will strike out a lot – but once we move to the AP era a lineup like…

    Polanco
    Martin
    Cutch
    Pedro
    Davis
    Marte
    Walker
    Drew

    Will look pretty good…

    Gabby can spell Ike against LHP and be the RH bat off of the bench….
    Snider should stick around and be the LH bat off of the bench…

    Not sure what happens to JT

  • Monsoon Harvard

    Just a thought. See that Tabata is starting tonight vs a right hander. Could it possibly be Travis Snider, but they don’t want to announce it yet because they don’t want to be a player short tonight?
    I know it’s unlikely, but it is worth consideration.

    • TheSharkTankisNasty

      I hope you’re right. I wouldn’t mind trading Snider.

    • SteveW

      I was thinking the same thing. Then bring up Lambo in his spot.

  • impliedi

    PTBNL will be Tony Sanchez, but the Pirates are still putting the final touches on a “lifetime” contract with Russell Martin before they can announce it.

    • Ericfg

      Not funny.

    • Ron Loreski

      The Mets have Travis d’Arnaud. They have no use for Sanchez.

  • rburgh

    PTBNL’s cannot be people from the 40-man roster, so it would seem that it’s going to be Blake Taylor,Cody Dickson, or maybe a middle infielder.

    • impliedi

      I think that you’re thinking off PTBNL’s after the trade deadline, like in August, where they have to clear waivers first. I believe at this time of the year, a PTBNL can be any player, 40-man or not.

      • TheSharkTankisNasty

        From MLBtraderumors post in 2009:

        They tend to be minor leaguers, as they cannot have spent time in the major leagues between the day the trade is announced and the day it is completed.

        Since Sanchez (or anyone on the ML roster) has spent time on the big league team (either on the field or on the bench) they can’t be traded.

        • impliedi

          I wonder what the rationale for that rule is.

          • http://twitter.com/LukeYurchak LukeYurchak

            1. So their ML service time doesnt start.
            2. So they cant push a guy up and interfere with his development.

            But that doesn’t make as much sense with PTBNL if, like mentioned above, it’s a newly drafted guy. Im sure there’s other good reasons.

  • impliedi

    Wasn’t Moises Alou the PTBNL in the Zane Smith trade?? Would he be the best PTBNL that the Pirates have ever given up?

    • impliedi

      And I think Jason Schmidt was the PTBNL that the Pirates received in the Denny Neagle trade, so he might be the best PTBNL that they ever received (well, I guess he didn’t really become a great player until AFTER he left the Bucs.)

  • Pie Rat

    I just hope it’s not Reese McGuire or Austin Meadows. Other than that, even if we get what we see the Pirates will have a strong stats from the 1st base position. If the change of scenery and PNC park help Davis, he cold put up some great numbers by himself

    • csnumber23

      I agree and don’t worry there is no way it’s Meadows or McGuire.

  • blainehwl

    Pretty much just freezes Lambo out of the organization.

    • csnumber23

      He becomes a nice depth option at both 1B and OF. Possibly a nice trade piece at some point. Ishikawa on the other hand will probably be DFA tomorrow.

      • blainehwl

        Yeah, Ishi’s gone, but I would have liked to have seen Lambo get a shot. Definitely would have preferred to see him at first as opposed to Davis.*

        *If Davis can find his stroke, I reserve the right to claim my account was hacked and someone else made this post.

  • R Edwards

    I sure hope the PTBNL is a non prospect , otherwise Pirates paid too much. If it is someone like a Jacoby Jones it is moronic. Unless this guy suddenly turns into Chris Davis I don’t see how he improves the Pirates. This should have been a bargain basement trade.

  • impliedi

    Now the Pirates have nothing left in the organization from the Chris Resop trade.

  • R Edwards

    You guys act like we just traded for Babe Ruth. We got fleeced if we gave up anything more than Jose Osuna or Mel Rojas Jr.

    • csnumber23

      Nobody is acting like anything more than we just made a trade to upgrade the team. So far all we have given up is a kid who could have been taken in the rule 5 for nothing. Yeah I hope it isn’t Jacoby Jones but I understand if it is. We are loaded in the outfield and he is way behind Hanson for SS.

  • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

    Reports are that it’s someone “fairly significant”. I more or less have faith in Neal that he didn’t give up anyone too significant. Remember how worried we were last year about what we gave up for Byrd and Morneau. My guess is that it’s an excess OF along the lines of Barnes or Rojas- someone that might look good to the Mets but probably isn’t good enough to crack the Bucs OF long term.

    That’s my hope, anyways.

    • csnumber23

      I agree, I think the most it is, is Jacoby Jones. One of those OF’s makes much more sense and I am hoping for it.

      • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

        I just don’t think it’s anyone as good as Jacoby. I think the Bucs have high hopes for him. I also think that people are jumping to conclusions that it’s someone from last year’s draft.

    • JayhawkDuke

      Why would those guys be PTBNL though? Tim’s theory that it’s a 2013 draft pick makes a lot of sense… I’d love it to be Barnes or Rojas, but I don’t think it is.

      • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

        Well Barnes is injured (as usual), for one. Maybe the Mets have their choice of a couple players, and are going to do their due diligence.

        • JayhawkDuke

          Fingers crossed…

        • impliedi

          Agreed. It makes more sense when you realize that the Mets were looking to make a roster move now for Young to be activated, but they want to spend more time deciding on the return (which makes me think that their top choice is a player coming off of an injury or currently injured, and if that player doesn’t look to be recovered in the next few months, they’ll take the 2nd player on their list.)

  • JayhawkDuke

    I don’t think it’ll be a top 10 prospect but 11-20 wouldn’t surprise me. Definitely not Meadows or McGuire. I’d put my money on Dickson or Taylor. Even 11-20 is probably too high for Davis, even for 3 years of control. He’s got a lot of question marks, but an .800 OPS would make a prospect a lot easier to swallow.

  • impliedi

    When I first read this story, I didn’t realize that the Mets were in a bit of a time/roster crunch with Chris Young coming off of the DL and having to make some kind of a move, which makes me think that all of this guessing about it being a 2013 draft pick may be a bit premature. I wonder if this is one of those cases where the Pirates and Mets have agreed on a small list of players (or maybe even 2) and the Mets want to wait on somebody (perhaps somebody recovering from an injury or somebody like Lambo where they want to wait a bit to see if the power is real, and if not, they have somebody else in mind.)

  • Monsoon Harvard

    Yeah I keep thinking Cody Dickson or Taylor. Plus I’d rather they gave either of them up than JaCoby Jones.

    Last time they gave up a ‘significant’ player as a ptbnl it was a pretty good one in Herrera to the same Mets last year. So I’m preparing myself to contain my disappointment if it is indeed Jones. I won’t like it, but I have hope in Ike Davis contibuting some much needed production in the line-up to bridge the gap until Dave Parker Polanco comes up in June.

    • dubious

      Wasn’t the ptbl in the Byrd trade Vic Black?

      • Monsoon Harvard

        Yeah, I think you’re right, Herrera was the announced name.

  • impliedi

    Been seeing Pirates Prospects getting lots of mentions and scouting report quotes in articles all around the web on this trade, as it seems nobody seems to have any clue who Zack Thornton is and everybody came to the Player Pages section of this site to see what’s up!! Great job Tim & crew!!

  • R Edwards

    As much as I respect Huntington for the job he has done with the Pirates and their farm system, its disappointing that they would; (a) practically give away Alex Dickerson to San Diego and (b) not give a guy like Lambo a shot, before dumpster diving for a guy like Ike Davis. Its not a terrible trade and gamble, if they did not give up anything of any value. The Mets are probably thrilled to find someone who would take him, his .200 average, and his $3.5m salary. If we include anyone who is a top 20-30 prospect in the system, we were fleeced.

  • Ericfg

    To say I’m not very thrilled is an understatement. I’m not an Ike Davis fan but I’m willing to give him a chance. Thornton plus someone like Thornton would be OK with me. A high-end ’13 draftee as the PTBNL would not be so good. Tossing in Joey Tabs would be OK, especially considering both contracts. Heck, even if Lambo was the one I’d be OK. Lambo’s got a bit better milb track record but Davis has the better MLB record, and he can play 1B fairly well which Lambo evidently cannot.

    But the best part of this whole deal is we’ll never (I hope & pray) have to hear Kendrys Morales name here ever again.

    In any event this no huge upgrade. When’s the last time we had decent 1B?

    • https://profiles.google.com/100212786463678215436 Nathan Swartz

      Not Dickson, Jones, and not Frazier. I hope it’s Trae Arbet or Buddy Borden.

  • Burt Reynolds

    I would love for it to be Willy Garcia, Barrett Barnes, Wyatt Mathisen, Roldy Ramirez, Clay Holmes. Heredia would sting. All top 20 guys but IMO the worst of the bunch. PTBNL is not Lambo or bums, usually low A guys with potential that people say yeah whatever

    I don’t see it being anyone but someone drafted last year looking at comments from their GM. JaCoby Jones has come up blazing in WV. Has to be him. Super athletic guy. Jacoby Jones is every bit athletic as Walker, if not more, and can play infield, outfield, don’t matter. If Neil Walker can go from catcher to 2nd base this guy, Jones, finds a spot on your MLB team in 3 years at 2nd or in the outfield as he’s every bit athletic, bat, etc. You don’t dump guys like that. I would push heavy for Barrett Barnes if they want OF and if they want Blake Taylor or Cody Dickson I’d be happy we didn’t get robbed