I am taking a page out of the Stacey Gotsulias handbook and working with a pun-ny title - I just couldn't decide whether I like or dislike the Ike Davis signing, so I settled on an open-ended question. And I do genuinely believe that there are reasons to be content with the Yankees newest first basemen, and I am equally certain that there is cause for frustration. So it goes.
The positive aspects of the signing are fairly straightforward - Davis is all but tailor-made for Yankee Stadium. Just look at his spray chart:
A bit more than 70% of his batted balls are hit to right or right-center, as are 64 of his 81 career home runs. He's also a career .251/.352/.443 (122 wRC+) hitter in 1883 PA against RHP, with 69 HR (to which all of baseball Twitter collectively says nice). Davis is strictly a platoon bat, as his career 61 wRC+ against LHP indicates, but the Yankees have RHH options at first base on the roster already, in Rob Refsnyder and Austin Romine (regardless of how ill-fitted either may be for the position). And, more importantly, the team's first basemen as a whole have been the worst in the Majors, batting .166/.248/.265 - the Mets first basemen, who are 29th in the league, are batting .215/.272/.368.
Is Davis some sort of savior? Absolutely not. He hit just .229/.301/.350 with the A's last year, and his .268/.350/.437 line in the hitter-friendly PCL this year is more good than great. But, again, the baseline is incredibly low right now - and it isn't as if the Yankees made a big-time investment in him, either.
The downside is a bit more vague, but the arguments that I made against Nick Swisher last week apply here. Davis is several years younger than Swisher, to be fair, and he isn't quite as far removed from being an effective Major Leaguer - yet this is a short-term patch nevertheless. The Yankees first base depth is laughable, but it isn't as non-existent as some may suggest; and there is value is giving giving Tyler Austin or Gary Sanchez a trial by fire.
While I cannot state with certainty whether I like or dislike Ike, I do think that it is important to note that he isn't directly blocking anyone right now - that is, insofar as the Yankees roster construction model is concerned. And the lack of a real investment should mean that he will not have an overly long leash. And, who knows, maybe maybe an effective Davis on a subpar Yankees team could be parlayed into something of value at the deadline.
What say you?