Ike Davis rumors: Mets tried trading 1B to Orioles for LHP Eduardo Rodriguez

Al Bello

New York continues to strike out in its effort to free up payroll.

The Mets tried trading first baseman Ike Davis to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor-league pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, but the offer was turned down, reports Mike Puma of the NY Post.

New York has been vying to unload Davis all winter so that it can free up the money to make moves elsewhere on the diamond -- say, at shortstop -- but have had little luck finding any takers. Puma reports that the Orioles -- along with the Brewers and Pirates -- are still in discussions with the Mets, even though the offer for Rodriguez was spurned.

Rodriguez, 20, is one of the many young and promising arms that the Orioles possess in the high minors.

The left-hander amassed a 3.41 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning over 25 starts between High-A and Double-A in 2013 and was recently ranked the No. 4 prospect in the organization by Baseball Prospectus, who projects Rodriguez to settle in as a middle-of-the-rotation starter as early as next season.

While the O's would have been dealing from a position of depth by parting with Rodriguez, it's easy to see why they'd pass on the swap given Davis' volatility.

The 26-year-old Davis showed great promise in his first season-plus with the Mets, but his batted-ball numbers have been in persistent decline the two seasons since. The lefty slugger managed to mash 32 home runs in 2012, but an uptick in strikeout rate and a severe decline in batting average limited the value of his production (0.9 bWAR).

Things got much worse for Davis in 2013. He hit just .163 with 61 strikeouts through the first two months of 2013, forcing the Mets to demote him to Triple-A for three weeks. Davis' numbers improved considerably when he returned -- .267/.429/.443 in 170 PA -- but his overall totals on the year (.205/.326/.334) still left a lot to be desired.

Davis is expected to earn about $3.5 million in his first year of arbitration this winter. Despite his issues and escalating salary, he'll be just 27 next season, so the Mets could still end up getting a nice piece in a deal, especially as Spring Training inches closer and teams like the Pirates and Brewers remain without starting first basemen.

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