Tag: Rajai Davis

Rajai Davis to A’s: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Outfielder Rajai Davis signed with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported Davis’ one-year deal worth $6 million from the A’s. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed the deal, adding Davis can receive another $450,000 in performance bonuses.

Davis, 36, had a solid season in 2016 for the Cleveland Indians, hitting .249 with 12 home runs, 48 RBI, 74 runs scored and an AL-high 43 stolen bases. While he is probably best served platooning in the outfieldhe often sat against left-handed pitching with the Indianshe can still offer solid production.

He has a .780 career OPS against left-handed pitching, but he actually hit better against righties (.708) than southpaws (.670) in 2016, per Baseball-Reference.com

While Davis’ offensive numbers were nothing special, he provided one of 2016’s most dramatic moments with a game-tying two-run homer off Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series. 

Davis is also still a terror on the basepaths, giving him a lot of value for an Oakland team that only stole 50 bases in 2016, the fifth-lowest mark in the majors. His defense in center has been all over the place throughout his career, with FanGraphs noting he cost Cleveland five runs at the position last season. 

Going to Oakland’s spacious coliseum likely won’t improve Davis’ defensive metrics, but his speed and ability to create scoring opportunities on the bases make him a worthy investment for the A’s. 

There may be questions about whether Davis can sustain his level of play, as he’s well into his 30s. He was a pleasant surprise for Cleveland in 2016, and his play was a big reason for the club’s Cinderella postseason run.

If Davis can replicate his success from last season, the A’s will have landed one of the better low-key free-agent signings.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Rajai Davis Hits for Cycle vs. Blue Jays: Stats, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Cleveland Indians outfielder Rajai Davis hit for his first career cycle Saturday in a 9-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

One day after the Tribe and Jays played a 19-inning affair, Davis had the game of his life, which he capped off by hitting a single off Toronto closer Roberto Osuna in the ninth inning.

Davis finished the game 4-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in addition to his round-tripper.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Davis broke a long cycle drought for the Indians:

The Indians provided the following breakdown of Davis’ place in team history after he completed one of baseball’s rarest accomplishments:

Davis’ cycle was of the reverse variety, as he hit a home run, triple, double and single in that order.

According to James Smyth of YES Network, the reverse cycle has happened just six times in MLB history:

He led off the game with a homer off Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada in the first inning, as seen in this video from SportsTime Ohio:

The triple came in the third by virtue of a questionable dive in right field by Ezequiel Carrera. Davis added a double in the seventh and a single in the ninth to complete the feat.

Davis’ cycle is the second in Major League Baseball this season. Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman previously turned the trick in June.

Saturday’s game may have been bittersweet for Davis, as it snapped Cleveland’s 14-game winning streak.

At the same time, the 35-year-old veteran hit for the cycle against the team he played for from 2011 to 2013.

His performance was a continuation of what has been one of Davis’ best MLB seasons to date. After this game, he checks in with a .275 batting average, nine home runs, 31 RBI and 22 stolen bases.

Davis is making a strong case for a potential All-Star berth, and hitting for the cycle will be near the top of his resume when it comes time for the managers to make their selections.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Rajai Davis to Indians: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran outfielder Rajai Davis agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, pending a physical, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, it’s a one-year deal that is believed to be worth $5.25 million plus incentives.

Per Spotrac.com, the 35-year-old had his two-year, $10 million deal expire at the end of the 2015 season to end a stint with the Detroit Tigers, the fifth team of his career. 

A top-of-the-order man who doesn’t necessarily hit for average, Davis finds his way on base thanks to his speed. This season, however, his speed numbers were down as he stole just 18 bases. He had 34 or more in each of the past six seasons. 

However, Davis appeared in just 112 games because of splitting time with 25-year-old Tyler Collins in left field.    

Despite seeing a decrease in playing time, Davis expressed his desire to stay in Detroit, according to Matthew B. Mowery of the Macomb Daily: “If it was up to me, it would be very, very nice to stay. But it’s a collective decision, and you gotta go from there. … It certainly is a business decision, especially when my family’s involved. Best situation for us. It could happen. Anything is possible.

By dealing center fielder Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline in 2015, the Indians lost speed and a bat at the top of the order who complemented second baseman Jason Kipnis. 

The Indians were also in need of a decent bat in the outfield to add some support for left fielder Michael Brantley, who was one of the team’s most productive hitters with a .310 batting average with 15 home runs and 84 RBI. 

Right fielder Brandon Moss, who matched Brantley’s 15 home runs last season, batted just .217.

A .269 lifetime hitter, Davis could provide those things as he helps address the Indians’ issue of depth in the outfield. At times last season, Cleveland resorted to playing Lonnie Chisenhall, usually a third baseman, in the outfield.

The Indians’ newest acquisition is versatile enough to play at any outfield position, appearing at all three last season with the Tigers. He will be a nice addition to a Cleveland team trying to piece together a contender in the American League Central. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

3 Ways the Detroit Tigers Have Already Improved This Season

Five weeks into the 2015 MLB season, the Detroit Tigers (19-13) are looking up at the Kansas City Royals (20-12) in the American League Central Division standings.

A one-game deficit in no way constitutes “languishing,” but the Tigers are a team accustomed to being front-runners. Winning four straight division titles is testament to that.

Despite currently playing chaser, their .594 winning percentage is nothing to be sneezed at. In fact, if you extrapolate this figure over a full season, the Tigers are on pace for 96 wins—six more than 2014. Ergo, you can make a good argument for progress in the early going.

There have been some noticeable causes. With a stronger bench, manager Brad Ausmus has been able to tinker with his lineup and manipulate matchups to the team’s favor. Defensively, the team is also night-and-day compared to last year. Meanwhile, the bullpen is still a major concern (sigh), but one pitcher is shining brightly in a murky sea of mediocrity.

Click “next” for extended analysis on what’s getting the thumbs-up right now in Motown.

Begin Slideshow

Detroit Tigers: Youth Will Be Key to Improving Offense and Winning in 2015

The Detroit Tigers are one of the most star-studded teams in baseball, specifically on offense. From Miguel Cabrera to Victor Martinez to Ian Kinsler to Yoenis Cespedes, there are plenty of high-profile names in the Detroit clubhouse.

However, while all four players will be important factors to the Tigers achieving the ultimate success next season, young players will ultimately play the most important collective role—improving the bench and the bottom of the lineup.

Detroit has won four American League Central titles, made it to three straight American League Championship Series and went to the 2012 World Series mainly on star power.

Sure, their batting lineup was phenomenal, but the players at the back end of the team’s roster weren’t exactly world beaters.

The perfect example of this occurred during Game 3 of the Tigers’ ALDS matchup with the Orioles.

Down by two runs entering the bottom of the ninth and needing a rally to extend their postseason hopes, the Tigers sent Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Bryan Holaday (who was subbing for an injured Alex Avila) to the plate.

Victor Martinez doubled to start the inning, while J.D. followed with a double of his own to bring the Tigers within one run.

The next batter, Holaday, promptly struck out. Nick Castellanos was intentionally walked, which brought the lineup around to the shortstop’s place in the batting order. The lighter-hitting Andrew Romine was removed for Hernan Perez. Perez grounded into a double play that ended the game and the Tigers’ season.

Perez is a player with solid potential who could be a consistent offensive contributor down the line but wasn’t the right player to hit in that spot. He’s played all of 44 games in the majors in the past three seasons.

Sadly, Perez was the best option. Eugenio Suarez was the only other player available off the bench at that moment, and he only managed a .570 OPS in the second half of the season.

Suarez was the last man on the bench due to the loss of Austin Jackson and some substitutions earlier in the game.

After losing Jackson in the David Price trade, the team was forced to play Rajai Davis, J.D. Martinez and Torii Hunter as the preferred outfield trio. This replaced the predicament of having four quality outfielders rotating between three spots.

Post-Price trade, the Tigers bench generally consisted of some combination of Don Kelly, Ezequiel Carrera, Holaday and Suarez or Romine (depending on who wasn’t starting).

With the exception of Kelly, who has a penchant for timely postseason hits and can play almost anywhere on the diamond as well as Romine—who brings defense and speed—there isn’t much there that will win Detroit a game.


Improving the Bench

Enter the Tigers young players, who should give the team more quality depth—depth that could push the team over the hump and allow them to claim the World Series trophy that has evaded them in years past.

Detroit’s pinch hitters produced a measly .182 batting average and an awful .297 slugging percentage.

The Tigers have inadvertently made strides to improve this. Newly acquired center fielder Anthony Gose will at the very least push Davis into a platoon role in center field. This means that Davis will be on the bench for many games.

Should Gose improve on his .226 batting average in 2014 and continue to play stellar defense, he may win the job outright.

This would not be a bad thing.

While Davis didn’t exactly light it up as a substitute (.250 batting average when coming off the bench in 2014), he does possess qualities that teams look for in a bench player—pop (37 extra-base-hits) and speed (36 steals in 2014, meaning he won’t have to be removed for a pinch runner).

The former Pittsburgh Pirate also hit .356 against right-handed pitching, posted a .302 clip with runners in scoring position and had a collective .315 average in the seventh through ninth innings.  

Along with Davis, manager Brad Ausmus will have his pick of players. Highly regarded prospect Steven Moya plays like a more athletic Adam Dunn with the same, if not more, raw power and an ability to hit for average (.276 batting average at Double-A).

Fellow outfielder Tyler Collins provides a solid blend of speed and pop, while catching prospect James McCann shows the ability to succeed on both sides of the ball thanks to a .295 batting average in Triple-A and a strong, defense-first reputation.

All of these players should vastly improve Detroit’s bench in 2015.  


Solidifying the Bottom of the Lineup

Even if the young players aren’t reserve players, like Jose Iglesias (24) and Castellanos (22), they can still improve the team’s overall depth.

The Tigers’ depth was exposed by the Orioles not just on the bench, but also at the bottom of the lineup. Detroit has multiple batters hitting sixth hit a cumulative .226. A massive drop off from the .299 clip number five hole hitters posted. The seventh spot in the order produced a collective .249 batting average. The eighth spot turned in a .241 number, while the nine hole came in with a .248 batting average.

These trends should be helped by the arrival of Cespedes. He or J.D. Martinez will hit sixth for Ausmus, providing an immediate upgrade.

Similarly, if Iglesias hits anywhere near the .259 mark he posted in Detroit after coming over from Boston, he will also provide a definite upgrade at shortstop and at the bottom of the lineup. An improvement on that .259 number isn’t out of the question either. Should that occur, it would be icing on the cake.  

Castellanos is another young player who stands a strong chance to improve in 2015. Long touted as the best hitting prospect in the Tigers’ system, Castellanos produced 31 doubles and drove in 66 runs as a rookie. His .259 batting average (coincidentally identical to Iglesias’) should improve as well with more experience. Should that happen, his statistics should improve across the board.

Should Iglesias, Castellanos and Gose all improve on their 2014 numbers, the Tigers will no longer have a bottom-of-the-order that is perceived as a handful of easy outs. Should the bench improve, the team may finally have an offense equipped to succeed in the postseason and ultimately win a World Series.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tigers Outfielder Rajai Davis Records 300th Stolen Base of Career

Detroit Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis swiped his 32nd bag of the season in Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, thus reaching 300 stolen bases for his career.

Stuck on 31 and 299 for nearly two weeks, the speedy outfielder recorded his milestone steal in the third inning of Saturday’s game off White Sox pitcher Chris Bassitt—who has making his first career major league appearance—and catcher Adrian Nieto.

Upon reaching 30 stolen bases for the season earlier in August, Davis became just the second active player to record a 30-steal season for three different teams, joining free agent outfielder Alfonso Soriano, per Complete Baseball Encyclopedia (via GammonsDaily.com). Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes may join the group by the end of this season, as he currently sits at 24 stolen bases and previously recorded 30-steal campaigns for both the New York Mets and Miami Marlins.

Though he’s largely been used as a platoon player throughout his nine-year career, the 33-year-old Davis ranks 12th among active players with 300 career steals. He has topped 40 stolen bases in four of the last five seasons, recording a personal-best 50 steals in 2010 for the Oakland Athletics.

While his value on the basepaths is quite apparent, Davis owns a career .255/.298/.352 slash line against right-handed pitching, which explains why 2010 was the only season in which he recorded more than 447 at-bats.

And, despite possessing excellent speed, Davis has a career UZR/150 of minus-4.0, with FanGraphs estimating that his defense has been worth 31.9 runs below average throughout the course of his career.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Free Agents 2014: Most Underrated Players and Who Should Sign Them

The 2014 offseason will be an exciting one for MLB. There are many intriguing and desirable names that fans want their team to land. With big names such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Robinson Cano and Shin-Soo Choo headlining the free agency market, the rest of the free agents should not be overlooked.

Every team is looking for next year’s Mike Napoli or next season’s Marlon Byrd—a player a team signs and out of nowhere has a big year. Here’s a look at a few underrated players who could make a big and important impact, for a new team in 2014.

Rajai Davis

If a team is in need of a player who can fly around the bases, Rajai Davis is the guy. Davis has had more than 40 stolen bases four out of the last five years, including 45 last year. The 33-year-old also hit .260, with an OBP of .312 for the Toronto Blue Jays.

With many teams in need of outfield depth, expect Davis to sign somewhere that he can flourish in a platoon-type role. The San Francisco Giants are a team that would make sense for Davis. He has played there in the past and would be a good fit for a Giants team that could use his skill set.

Although Davis returning to the Bay Area would not be a surprise, the Detroit Tigers are a better fit. The Tigers, who had fewer stolen bases than Davis last year, could definitely use some speed on the base paths. Davis should be a player the Tigers grab.

Prediction: Detroit Tigers

Kendrys Morales

After a freak injury forced Kendrys Morales to miss most of the 2010 season and all of the 2011 campaign, he has proven he’s fully back after two very good seasons in 2012 and 2013.

Morales finished the 2013 season batting .277, with 23 homers and 80 RBI for the Seattle Mariners. After that year, expect many teams to go after the 30-year-old. There are many places Morales could land, but an AL contender should be the one to ultimately snag Kendrys.

With the Texas Rangers losing multiple solid bats to free agency, they are a team that will make a run at Morales and want him to be their DH. Morales would be a great fit for a Rangers lineup that already includes Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler and Alex Rios.

Prediction: Texas Rangers

Joaquin Benoit

Joaquin Benoit is a player who could be of much value to many teams. As seen with the Red Sox and Cardinals, a reliable bullpen is extremely important to make it to the World Series. There are many teams in need of late-inning relievers, and Benoit could fit perfectly for some.

Coming off one of the best years of his career, in which he had a 2.01 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, Benoit should not be overlooked. Although there are bigger names out there such as Joe Nathan, Grant Balfour and Brian Wilson, Benoit deserves to be considered among them all.

Teams like the Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets and New York Yankees could all use Benoit’s arm. Ultimately though, it will be the Yankees who sign Benoit. They will need a guy late in the game whom they can rely on after losing some key relief help. Benoit could end up being a steal if the Yanks get him at a good value.

Prediction: New York Yankees

Some other underrated free agents who I think will make an impact in 2014 are Juan Uribe, Dan Haren and Corey Hart. There are tons of players to choose from and after this year, who knows what can happen.

Who do you think will be this year’s most underrated free agent signing? Leave in the comment section below whom you think this year’s break-out free agent will be!

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Guide to the Toronto Blue Jays Stealing the AL East Title

One thing that the Toronto Blue Jays have shown this season is that they are consistently inconsistent.  On occasion they have looked like a team equipped to raise their play to a new level—only to follow it up with disappointing stretches against teams they should beat (teams worse than .500) or fall short against teams they are competing with for a playoff spot. 

They also haven’t been able to get on a roll.  As of May 23, they have gone on five winning streaks of two or more games followed by losing streaks of two or more games.

They began their season alternating wins and losses two at a time—splitting their first 12 games. They then swept the Kansas City Royals (April 20-24) but then lost their next four—bringing them back to .500 (10-10) after 20 games. 

Begin Slideshow

MLB Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Fliers: Finding Steals To Replace Rajai Davis

The Toronto Blue Jays placed outfielder Rajai Davis on the 15-day DL on Monday with a right ankle injury.

The 30-year-old speedster has stolen 92 bases since 2009, so he presence in fantasy lineups won’t be easy to replace. Fortunately, there are a few short-term options that can offer cheap steals.

Willie Bloomquist
(3B, SS, OF—Ari)

Bloomquist filled in for the injured Stephen Drew at shortstop to start the season, posting surprising results. Through eight games this season, the 33-year-old is batting .368 (14-for-38), and is second in all of baseball with six steals.

Since Drew has returned to the lineup, the Diamondbacks have found room for Bloomquist in left field. The career .266 hitter might be this year’s Emilio Bonifacio, but his hot streak is worth riding while it lasts.

Currently owned in just 66 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Sam Fuld

Fuld went 4-for-6 on Monday against the Red Sox, raising his season average to .321 (9-for-28) with five steals. Given the current state of Tampa Bay’s lineup, Fuld should continue to see time in left and right field. In six minor league seasons, the 29-year-old hit .285 and stole 44 bases over the last two seasons at Triple-A.

Currently owned in just four percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Coco Crisp

The oft-injured Crisp is hitting just .236 (9-for-38) thus far, but he’s stolen four bases in as many attempts. Despite missing an average of 51 games per season since 2004, the 31-year-old center fielder has averaged 21 steals a year during that time frame.

Currently owned in just 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Cameron Maybin

The 24-year-old Maybin appears to be benefiting from a change of scenery this season, batting .258 (8-for-31) with two homers and three steals through nine games. The former Detroit and Florida farmhand was originally thought to possess 30/30 potential. He’s still too young and plays in too large of a park to produce that kind of power output, but 20-30 steals isn’t out of the question this season.

Currently owned in just 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues.


Follow Fantasy Baseball Insiders on Facebook and Twitter.

2011 Position Rankings: C / 1B / 2B / 3B / SS / OF / SP

Previous articles from Fantasy Baseball Insiders: 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Toronto Blue Jays Win Big Playing Small Ball in Home Opener

The Blue Jays home opener started big with Jose Bautista receiving his silver slugger award from last season. Then, the pre-game activities were even bigger as Roberto Alomar and Pat Gilleck were on hand to see their Hall of Fame banners unveiled in the rafters before they teamed up to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the season.

To make things even better, the night ended very big for the Jays as well, as they pulled off a 13-3 shellacking of the Minnesota Twins in front of their home fans. They were carried by some solid pitching from Ricky Romero as he picked up the win in 6.1 innings pitched, allowing only three runs and striking out seven.

However, if you rewind back to the first inning it becomes quite clear that the Jays won this game because they did the little things well, right from the beginning. 

All it took was one game, actually, one inning, for this year’s Blue Jays team to convince me that they will have a far more versatile offense this season. The spark tonight came in the first inning as the Jays put up four runs, off two hits and some smart heads up base running highlighted by a beautiful double steal and a sneaky play by Adam Lind.

I know it’s really early to be saying things like “if the Jays continue like this then…” or “if the Jays keep this up….”  But, I’m going to do it anyway.

The duo of Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar went a combined two for nine, but they more than made up for it with some great base running in the first inning that really got things going for the Jays. 

First, Rajai Davis showed some hustle as he ran out a very hard hit grounder to Twins shortstop Alexi Casella for a base hit. Once on base, he got caught in a round down but skilfully managed to maneuver his way out of trouble and stay safe at first. This was crucial for the big four-run outburst the Jays had in the first inning. 

The next batter, Yunel Escobar, singled, and then the duo came up with a masterful double steal getting themselves both into scoring position for none other than the reigning Home Run king and Silver Slugger award winner Jose Bautista. 

Bautista would not put one over the fence just yet, and he ended up being walked by Carl Pavano (coming off a fourth ball, which in my opinion, was way too far up and inside. Especially considering the fact that everyone knew he would pitch around Jose with first base open). 

Following the near “sweet chin music” on Bautista, Carl Pavano walked in the Jays first run of the season when he hit Adam Lind with a pitch. 

Fortunately, Adam Lind got some revenge on the next play via some additional crafty Blue Jays base running.  Lind sneakily advanced to second on an Aaron Hill sac fly to center field that scored Yunel Escobar and put the Jays up by two. In doing so, Lind proved that Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar are not the only ones capable of turning some heads on the base paths.

The team’s solid base running in the first inning tells me that all the Jays are buying into the new small-ball game plan for this season. In addition, it is clear that they are all on the same page, just look at the way Jose Bautista (on 3B at the time) was communicating with Lind, who had just advanced to second. 

Therefore, fellow Jays fans, we are certainly in store for quite the show on the base paths this season. So sit back and enjoy it, because judging by the four home runs the Jays also managed to hit tonight it seems like they will be a legit double threat this season on offense.

As a result, they will be able to put up more than enough run support to keep the young Toronto pitching staff relaxed and comfortable, which means they will be able to go out there and just pitch like they know they can, with little to no pressure!

Great home opener win, let’s go Jays!


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress