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.

  • Burt Reynolds
    April 19, 2014 12:04 am

    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

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • Monsoon Harvard
    April 18, 2014 9:31 pm

    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.

  • 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.)

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • Fingers crossed…

        • 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.)

  • 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.

    • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Pretty much just freezes Lambo out of the organization.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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

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

    • 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.)

  • 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.

    • 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
        April 18, 2014 8:36 pm

        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.

        • I wonder what the rationale for that rule is.

          • 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.

  • 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.

  • Monsoon Harvard
    April 18, 2014 8:19 pm

    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.

  • lonleylibertarian
    April 18, 2014 8:05 pm

    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…


    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

  • TheSharkTankisNasty
    April 18, 2014 8:03 pm

    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
      April 18, 2014 8:04 pm

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

    • 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.

  • Heredia pending shoulder?

  • Ptbn maybe tabby until they see he is for sure healthy

    • 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.

  • Monsoon Harvard
    April 18, 2014 7:49 pm

    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.

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

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

      • Monsoon Harvard
        April 18, 2014 7:53 pm

        I really hope it isn’t JaCoby Jones.

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

          • Monsoon Harvard
            April 18, 2014 7:55 pm

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

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

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

          • Monsoon Harvard
            April 18, 2014 7:57 pm

            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.

    • 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.

  • 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

    • No way it’s McGuire or Meadows.

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

      • 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”!!

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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
      April 18, 2014 10:12 pm

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

      I hope you’re correct, hinkdog.

      • 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?

        • 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.

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

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

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

  • Wow! That came out of nowhere!!!

  • Monsoon Harvard
    April 18, 2014 6:57 pm

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

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

    • 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

  • Monsoon Harvard
    April 18, 2014 6:55 pm

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

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