NEW YORK -- Awkwardness, Sandy Alderson said, should not exist in Mets camp this spring -- not even under the increasingly likely scenario that both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda are in the clubhouse together, battling for the starting first-base job.
To that end, Alderson spoke with Davis last month at David Wright's wedding in California, briefly touching on the trade rumors that have dogged him all offseason.
"He was in a good mood," Alderson said. "I don't think any of this talk over the winter has bothered him. I think he's anxious to get to Spring Training and show what he can do. I was certainly pleased by that."
What once seemed highly unlikely -- Davis reporting to camp alongside Duda -- is now a probability. Months of engaging teams such as the Brewers, Orioles and Pirates in trade talks has led to nothing more than stalemates. The Mets want a young, talented controllable pitcher in return for Davis, who is two years removed from a 32-homer season. No club has been willing to surrender that.
As a result, the Mets now expect Davis to compete directly with Duda for the first-base job, with the loser either heading to the bench or the Minors.
"We're not going to move Ike just to move Ike -- or any other player, for that matter," Alderson said in a telephone interview this week. "This is a trade market, not a yard sale. And right now, we're perfectly happy to go into Spring Training with Davis and Duda both on the team. Frankly, we're not that actively engaged in trade discussions involving Ike at this point. I think that underscores our willingness to go into camp with both."
The Mets spent much of their time at last month's Winter Meetings talking to other teams about Davis, meeting with the Brewers in particular multiple times. Nothing came of it.
"You can only ask someone to dance so many times before you get the message," Alderson said. "We've been told by a variety of clubs that what we're asking is not unrealistic. But if they think they can get it or something else for less, that's what they're going to try to do. So be it. It's not like we're holding out for Babe Ruth."