PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - As they shopped Ike Davis this offseason, the Mets seemingly explored every option short of posting the first baseman on Craigslist.
The saga played out in public, leaving Davis to field phone calls from friends asking about a trade that ultimately did not materialize. Even Davis' father weighed in, blasting the Mets for making a spectacle of the affair.
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"The articles would say I wasn't going to be here," Davis said Friday afternoon. "So [there's] a little bit of shock that I didn't get traded. But I'm happy I didn't."
For now, Davis is a member of the Mets. But plenty remains unresolved for the 26-year-old, who addressed the media for the first time during voluntary workouts this week. He finds himself in a competition for the job at first base with Lucas Duda, who also spent the winter on the trading block, though without nearly as much fanfare.
The constant rumors prompted Ron Davis, a former Yankees pitcher, to throw a brushback pitch at the Mets in defense of his son. He told reporters that the club "really screwed up that situation."
"He's a dad," Ike Davis said. "He's played baseball and he's a fan. I would never have said it, but my dad has his own opinions and he's a pretty smart guy. So I'm not really mad he did. He shouldn't be asked those questions anyway."
Of course, those questions will dissipate if Davis shows signs of life in spring training.
If Davis recaptures the form he displayed in 2012, when he blasted 32 homers, he stands a strong chance of re-establishing his presence at first base. But if he relives his disastrous 2013 campaign, when his struggles earned him a demotion to the minor leagues, Davis faces the possibility of another demotion.
Davis spent the early part of the offseason recovering from an oblique injury that ended his 2013 season, during which he hit .205 with nine homers and 33 RBIs.
He began hitting in November, two months earlier than usual, in hopes of avoiding a slow start like the ones that have plagued him in recent years.
Mets manager Terry Collins intends to give Davis additional at-bats in spring training, also in hopes of helping him avoid his typical struggles out of the gate.
Davis also spent plenty of his offseason breaking down video of his swing, even spotting a mechanical flaw that went unaddressed during the season.
And after a season in which Davis was flooded with suggestions on ways to improve his swing, he has resolved to stick with his mechanics.
"Not changing my swing 65 times might help," he said.
Davis said he has yet to meet with Mets officials since trade talks died down. He forgot about a scheduled meeting with Collins earlier this week, though the two intend to sit down.
The Pirates, Rays and Brewers had been involved in trade talks regarding Davis, but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson wasn't enticed by any of the potential returns, meaning Davis remains with the franchise that drafted him.
"I never was once off the team," he said. "It's still like [there was an] article every day but there still was no trade, ever. So it's not a big deal. I wanted to be back and I'm back. So I'm happy about it."