Pittsburgh Pirates: Ike Davis Release Means First Base Belongs To Pedro Alvarez


Aug 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) takes ground balls at first base before playing the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Although he didn’t put on a show as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ike Davis was actually a mildly productive player in black and gold.

In 131 games after being acquired from the Mets, the 27-year-old Davis had a .235/.343/.378 triple-slash line, which was almost exactly league average for a National League first baseman.

So it wasn’t without consequence that the Pirates designated Davis for assignment Thursday. For as uninspiring as his time in Pittsburgh was, average production is nothing to dismiss at the major-league level.

Clearly, with Davis jettisoned, the Bucs are putting their faith in Pedro Alvarez being able to make the successful transition across the diamond in 2015. Although Alvarez played just five games at first in August before a severely sprained foot ended his season, it appears his regular days at third base may be permanently behind him.

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That’s completely justifiable from the Pirates’ perspective, and not just because Alvarez came down with a serious case of the throwing yips. Josh Harrison may never be able to replicate his impressive 2014 offensive output, but he was indisputably better than Pedro at third in most aspects of the position.

The Pirates can feel comfortable with an infield defense that includes Harrison at the hot corner, Jordy Mercer at shortstop and the steady (but unremarkable) Neil Walker at second. However, it would be ignorant to assume that Alvarez will slide right over to the right side of the diamond without incident.

It doesn’t look like Alvarez will get any repetitions in winter ball, so he’ll have to put in the majority of his defensive work on his own before spring training. The results in Bradenton will tell a story, because Alvarez’ athletic ability should allow him to be successful if he applies himself to his new role.

Alvarez has proven to be dedicated to his craft, so it’s reasonable to assume he’ll put in the sweat necessary to get acclimated to first base. For the Pirates’ sake, it had better work out, because they just dropped their insurance policy.