12/18/2013 5:51 P.M. ET
Imagining a world in which Yankees like Ike
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
Sometimes the presence of Mark Teixeira on the Yankees' roster can be overlooked, mostly because of his presence on the disabled list last season, but also because his production in 2012 wasn't remotely comparable to what he had done in his first three seasons in the Bronx.
Whether those factors were at work last week when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman included first base with second and third as positions of uncertainty, I don't know. Perhaps including first base merely was born in habit because of Teixiera's extended absence last summer. Perhaps it was Freudian. More likely, Cashman spoke those words because he has some question in his mind.
In the first moments following Cashman's words, my mind jumped far ahead and linked what I had heard, the Yankees' possible need, with the Mets' desire to unload a first baseman. Hmmm. I didn't think logically -- I recognize that now. I didn't consider that the Mets probably wouldn't consider dealing a player with the potential of Ike Davis to a team with a short right field and an area code identical to their own.
Moving Davis to the Bronx doesn't have a fastball's chance in Hades of happening, if only for that reason. But what if? What if the Yankees developed interest in Ike's left-handed swing, and the Mets addressed their overpopulation at first base by sending Davis crosstown and he became the next Roger Maris? Or merely the next Kevin Maas.
How would the Mets deal with that? They weren't too comfortable when their homegrowns, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, played for champion Yankees teams. Nor were they delighted when David Cone became a high-profile Yankees contributor. What in the name of Nolan Ryan would they do if they dealt Davis to the Yankees and he found the form he demonstrated in the second half of the 2012 season? What would they do if Ike bombarded the area inhabited by the Bleacher Creatures and points south and in fair territory?
Mind you, this is all supposition based on what might have been a slip of the tongue of the Yankees' general manager. I'd ask Cashman, "What if?" but folks in the role of general manager -- Cashman and the Mets' Sandy Alderson included -- dislike hypotheticals. No reason to bring this imagined scenario to either. It ain't happening. It's more unlikely than a Yankees star leaving the Bronx to play in Seattle.
But there is this to consider: Would the Mets feel more comfortable dealing Lucas Duda across town? I suspect they would. If that is the case, then they ought to be honest with themselves and hang on to Davis. They should use their own reluctance -- however hypothetical -- to fuel clear thinking.
Duda may be more effective against left-handed pitching than Davis. And his defense now is more comparable to Davis, who had an unremarkable 2013 at first base. But Davis still has a much higher ceiling than Duda. I don't think that's open to debate.
More risk with Davis than with Duda, no question. But the reward with Davis could be 30 home runs, even at Citi Field. He's done that once. At Yankee Stadium, he might hit 40 if he rediscovered his at-the-plate patience and the swing that had the Mets hoping in 2012 that they had another Darryl.
Forget Yankee Stadium and the seductive right-field dimensions, though. Teixeira is there, and his potential, even after a season lost to injury, exceeds Davis'. But it was a juicy thought. Wasn't it?
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.