Davis worked with Mets hitting coach Chili Davis over the offseason to correct some issues in his swing, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. Coach Davis felt that the 27-year-old become too "rotational" last summer, relying more on his torso than his hands to generate bat speed. The team can live with his defensive limitations now that Francisco Lindor is patrolling shortstop, so if third baseman Davis can regain the form that produced a .307/.369/.527 slash line in 2019, he will lock down the starting job at the hot corner for the Mets, as well as become a huge bargain at his current ADP.
Davis could be headed for a utility role this season after Mets manager Luis Rojas wouldn't commit to him as the team's starting third baseman during Wednesday's press conference, Deesha Thosar of The New York Daily News reports. "It's really tough right now to commit to any role," Rojas said. "I've got to stick with our versatility. J.D. is a guy that's played left too. We're thinking of that. He improved a lot at third base. But we want to keep that versatility always open. Multiple guys are going to play multiple positions. That's where our roster is." Jeff McNeil, Jonathan Villar and Luis Guillorme could all be options at the hot corner as well, but Davis is still the most likely candidate to see a plurality of starts at third, if not an outright majority. The 27-year-old also saw his offensive numbers take a big step backwards in 2020, which could be factoring into Rojas' hesitation. If Davis hits like he did last season instead of returning to something closer to his 2019 level, the club has much less incentive to compromise the infield defense by keeping him in the lineup nearly every day.
Davis lost his arbitration case Friday and will make $2.1 million next season, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Davis' .247/.371/.389 line last season represented a big step back from his .307/.369/.527 line from his breakout 2019 season, at least in terms of his average and slugging, though it was still quite an effective performance thanks to his ability to get on base at a high clip. Whether or not that's enough to keep him in the lineup on an everyday basis this season given his defensive limitations may depend in part on whether or not the universal designated hitter returns, but he's a good enough hitter to start most games even under traditional National League rules.
Davis is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Nationals. With little at stake in the season finale, the Mets will hold out a few regulars for maintenance purposes, as Davis will be joined on the bench by Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil. Davis struggled down the stretch with a 2-for-28 showing at the plate over his last nine games, saddling him with a .249/.370/.392 slash line for the season heading into the finale. That's a 134-point drop in OPS from his career-best 2019 campaign.
Davis isn't starting Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Nationals, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. Davis went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts during Game 1 and will take a seat for the nightcap. Robinson Cano will serve as the designated hitter while Luis Guillorme starts at second base.