Friday, April 18, 2014

Ike Davis, Bucco

The Pirates announced that they have acquired 1B Ike Davis from the Mets in exchange for RHP Zack Thornton and a PTBNL, demonstrating that NH is a patient but persistent suitor as he stared down the market for Davis' services.

Thornton, 25, is well regarded as a back end reliever, but with Pittsburgh he was just another depth guy at Indy. He had a 2.63 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 75-1/3 IP at Indy last season, and is off to another strong start this year. The Bucs were pleasantly surprised he wasn't lost in the Rule 5 draft this year, and at least turned him into a trade piece, one who could join the Mets' bullpen this season.

The PTBNL is the juicy sidebar to this deal. A NY report: "Source says the player to be named will be 'more significant' return on Ike than Z. Thornton." That sounds scary - Tim Williams at Pirates Prospects speculates that it could be a 2013 draft pick. So the price tag is still up in the air.

With Davis, the Bucs have a LH power bat who clubbed 32 HR in 2012, but has been damaged goods thanks to injuries over the past two years (he's recovered now). We suspect he's the guy they've had their eye on all during the off season and the poster boy for some change-of-scenery. With an .824 OPS v RHP, he and Gaby should fall into the cookie-cutter platoon contemplated during the spring. Davis is also a guy who draws walks (.334 OBP in five seasons) and can play the position.

He has a $3.5M contract this season, with two arb years ahead of him, so he's under team control through the 2016 season. It's apparent that the Bucs are hoping he's more than a bandaid.

As far as affecting the Pirate roster, Gaby looks like he's back to swinging against lefties. Travis Ishikawa is the obvious man out and would clear roster space for the 27 year old Davis. Also unstated but crystal clear is that Andrew Lambo's status as heir-apparent has tumbled way downhill.  Well, at least we won't have to put up with any more Kendrys Morales rumors.

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