Archive for the ‘Rajai Davis’ Category

rajaicelebrates

It’s not official-official, but it’s official enough that I think I can say… uh… officially that Rajai Davis is no longer a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. I suppose that was true as soon as he hit free agency– we knew it was extremely unlikely he was coming back– but now we know where he’ll land and for how much, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet has confirmed that he’ll sign a two year deal with the Detroit Tigers, while Jon Morosi adds that the terms will pay him $9- or $10-million over the two years.

Benny Fresh further adds that it’s a straight deal, with no options.

That’s a pretty good deal for Rajai, even though he won’t be getting the starting job that he coveted, and he’ll definitely be missed here– the CF-capable, lefty-mashing speedster was actually a perfect fourth outfielder and platoon partner for Adam Lind on this roster– but that salary is also, quite literally, ten times more than a league minimum guy like Anthony Gose, Kevin Pillar, or Moises Sierra will earn this year, should they assume the club’s fourth outfielder role.

And if the Jays can find a cheap caddy for Lind to fit in elsewhere– like the infield? Well, then they’ll be fine, and for quite a bit less money, too.

Works for all involved then, I guess? OK! I mean, Rajai sure looks happy– but who wouldn’t if they just got handed $10-million to be a platoon outfielder?

So… there’s that.

rajaicelebrates

Jacoby Ellsbury, who starts tonight in centre for the damn Red Sox as the World Series begins, came to the plate 636 times in the regular season this year, and led the Majors in stolen bases with 52 of them. The man with the second-most steals in the American League? Rajai Davis, who came to the plate just 360 times. In fact, had it not been for Eric Young of the Mets swiping two bases on the final day of the season, Davis would have been second in all of baseball in steals.

That’s pretty seriously impressive, as is the fact that he also ranked second in baseball– again behind Ellsbury– in FanGraphs’ base running component of WAR, which combines their Ultimate Base Running metric with Weighted Stolen Base Runs, and that he was caught just six times in stealing his 45 bases, for a success rate over 88%.

Imagine what that would look like over the course of a full season’s worth of at-bats, right?

Pretty ugly, actually. Or… the base running stuff would still be elite, but everything else? Yeesh. Yes, if Davis gets his wish this winter some team is going to find out that… hoo boy… is he ever a platoon player.

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RajaiFC4

“Hey! Rajai Davis, you just saved the Jays season with a bullet throw from left field to gun down Manny Machado at the plate as he attempted to score the winning run! What are you gonna do now?”

“I’m gonna go hang out with a bunch of weirdos in the MLB Fan Cave!”

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According to a team release, the Jays have made their decisions on the two players they held contract options on, picking up lefty reliever Darren Oliver’s $3-million option for 2013, while declining the $3-million option they had on Rajai Davis.

Ahh, but there’s a catch!

Though Davis had his option declined, the club also announces that they have re-signed Davis to a one-year deal worth $2.5-million. Davis had a buyout clause worth $500K on the old contract, and it’s still unclear whether he’ll receive this or not. There’s no savings here for the Jays if he does, but Mike Wilner speculates as to a reason why the club would still have incentive to do it:

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Moveable?

Around the blogosphere and in the comments here there has been some consternation of late, now that he’s healthy, about why Travis Snider can’t seem to shove Rajai Davis aside and reclaim the left field job that many hoped would have been his from the start of the season.

“If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll find his way back,” said Alex Anthopoulos over the weekend, according to the Toronto Sun, “but right now Raj hasn’t done anything to lose that job.”

Now, it certainly wouldn’t hurt for Snider to be back at Vegas for more than, say, a week before he gets thrown into the fire– especially when Anthopoulos told the Sun that, when he comes up, he wants Snider to play every day, not to mention that the GM has insisted before that when he’s up, he wants it to be for good… not that he has a whole lot of choice, as Snider will head into 2013 out of options.

Still, I think you can at least make the argument that Snider’s time ought to be now, and yet… there’s Rajai Davis being run out there every night– and playing pretty well, to boot. In fact, I recall, after Vlad Guerrero was allowed to walk, pointing out to a sour fan who was ready for big Vladdy to ride in on his white horse and save the season, that Davis– with his .340 wOBA and 114 wRC+ this season– has been considerably better than Vlad was last year with the Orioles– .314 and 95– and he can field a position too.

The surprise burst of value from Davis– he was worth 3.8 wins, per FanGraphs, in 2009, posting a .354 wOBA, so it’s not entirely out of nowhere– led me to speculate in yesterday’s Afternoon Snack that Davis is very possibly keeping his starting position in left only in order to showcase him as the trade deadline approaches.

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