Ike Davis traded to Pirates

ByKieran Darcy ESPN logo
Friday, April 18, 2014

NEW YORK -- The Ike Davis saga is over in New York.

The New York Mets traded the enigmatic first baseman to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, in exchange for right-handed reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.

The deal was announced just a few minutes prior to the Mets' game against the Atlanta Braves. Davis was made available to reporters outside the Mets clubhouse as the game got underway.

"Honestly, it's a little weird," Davis said. "I've been with the Mets organization for a long time, and made some really good friendships and stuff like that. That's the toughest part, I think."

"I really had a blast in New York. I made my dreams come true, childhood dreams come true, playing in the big leagues here. But it's just a stepping-stone. It happens to a lot of people, getting traded. Now [I'll] go help my team in Pittsburgh."

Thornton, 25, was pitching for the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis. He will report to the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.

The Mets filled Davis' spot on the 25-man major league roster with outfielder Chris Young, who was on the disabled list.

"We're very happy with the trade," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We're happy for Ike, in the sense that he'll get another opportunity elsewhere. It's a situation that we needed to resolve here, and we're happy with the return."

Thornton is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four appearances at Triple-A this season, with eight strikeouts and one walk. An executive with a team unaffiliated with the trade described Thornton as a "soft tosser" and noted he was available but unclaimed in December's Rule 5 draft.

Alderson said the Mets considered taking Thornton in the Rule 5 draft.

"Thornton is going to give us more depth, and has pitched very well at the minor-league level," Alderson said. "He's not on the [40-man] roster so it gives us some flexibility there, but we're happy to add that depth. And with respect to the player to be named later, we're happy as well."

When asked for more information on the other player, Alderson was mum. "Players are named later for a variety of reasons, so I really can't get into it any further than that," he said. "Because if I were to give you the reason why the player's [not] been named, it would lead you in the right direction."

The Mets had a logjam at first baseman, with three of them on the roster -- Davis, Lucas Duda and Josh Satin. Davis and Duda are both lefties, so the Mets were expected to move one of them.

Duda, 28, was batting .275 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 40 at-bats this season. Davis, 27, was at .208 with one home run and five RBIs in 24 at-bats.

"Ike has done some great things here in New York, hit 32 home runs one year, and there were a lot of positives," Alderson said. "But we think Lucas has the same potential, he might be a little more effective against left-handed [pitchers], [and] we think he can play first base well.

"It was a close call. This isn't something that was so clear-cut -- if it had been, this might have been resolved months ago."

Davis was a first-round draft pick by the Mets, chosen No. 18 overall in 2008 out of Arizona State. He made his major-league debut nearly four years to the day -- April 19, 2010 -- and batted .264 with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs his rookie year.

His 2011 season was cut short after just 36 games due to an ankle injury. In 2012 Davis got off to a terrible start, with a batting average below .200 as late as July 3. But he boosted it to .227 by year's end, with impressive totals in terms of home runs (32) and RBIs (90), leading to renewed optimism about his future.

Then last season Davis had another brutal start, batting .161 through June 9 before being sent down to Triple-A. He was recalled on July 5 and finished the season at .205, with nine homers and 33 RBIs.

"It was fun. I wouldn't change it for the world," Davis said, describing his time in New York. "I had a great time here, I just didn't play as well as I should have. Now I get a fresh start, and hopefully I can get right back to where I used to be."

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