Tigers finalizing 2-year deal with Rajai Davis

The Tigers have found their answer in left field, and it’s not the much-rumored, oft-speculated pursuit of Shin-Soo Choo. Instead, they’re prepared to go with a platoon of Andy Dirks and Rajai Davis.

The Tigers spent Tuesday working to complete an agreement with Davis on what is expected to be a two-year contract, according to sources. The team has not confirmed the agreement, as is their policy when a contract is pending a physical. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, who first reported an agreement, said the contract will be worth $10 million.

It’s a role signing for a team that was looking to upgrade its offense and saw left field as the one place it could do so. It’ll happen situationally, plugging in the speedy Davis as the right-handed hitting half of a platoon with Dirks, as well as a basestealing option in the late innings of games he doesn’t start. His .294 career average and .354 on-base percentage against lefties, including .319 and .383 last season in a part-time role with the Blue Jays, fits what the Tigers were seeking, though the production often came in streaks.

By contrast, Davis is a .255 career hitter against right-handers, including just .228 (49-for-215) with 48 strikeouts this past season.

At the same time, it’s a philosophical shift for a team that has been short on speed and wary of speedsters in their thirties. Detroit has been neither a basestealing team nor a manufactured offense type of club for several seasons, increasingly focusing their baserunning efforts on hit-and-run and first-to-third plays. The Tigers wouldn’t be signing the 33-year-old Davis for multiple seasons if they didn’t plan to use his greatest asset.

Despite just 108 games and 360 plate appearances, Davis stole 45 bases in 51 attempts in 2013, and he has racked up at least 40 steals in four of the last five seasons. Meanwhile, the Tigers stole 35 bases as a team last season, led by Austin Jackson’s eight.

The deal rules out the Tigers on Choo, if they were ever in it. Though his combination of speed, on-base percentage and arm presented potentially an ideal fit for Detroit, he’s also an ideal fit for a lot of teams. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Robinson Cano off the market, moreover, Choo stands as the top position player left, making him a hot commodity.

19 Comments

like the move. we’d better make running a big thing this year because the long ball is long gone from this team. Alex Avila – we need you to hit with power this year!

if Torii can keep his 2013/2011/2010 power numbers then i think we’re a little more OK. but will he try to do that batting 2nd? Will austin have the power we’ve seen in him the past 2 years or go back to his old self? These things will go a long way in determining whether we have a balanced team or not. We need both long ball and small ball game.

Then they need to get him out of his crouch more often. Be great if VMart could spell him sometimes.

Good. We don’t have to hope someone runs into one (homer). On the ESPN site the article says Miggy is doing fine and is moving to first base for the team.

Was Rajai Davis the last out in JV’s no no at Toronto?? Kelly and Davis were teammates at Pittsburgh and Indianapolis in 2007. Wonder if they will be this season?? Last year the Red Sox scored 57 runs more than us. We were first and second in scoring runs in MLB. They also stole 88 bases more than us. We chase all kinds of stats in BB. How many of those 88 steals led directly to a run being scored?? How many times did Boston look back and say that stolen base got us the victory. Rajai is an elite basestealer. Good to see us address the weak bench of last season. Wow an impact player on offense on our bench. Both Davis and Lombardozzi hit better than DK against any kind of pitching.

the chances of Donny Kelly Baby making the 2014 roster just went down “some”. Dirks, Davis can both play OF, Perez 2B/SS, Lombardozzi LF/2B/3B, Vmart 1B/C, Holady C. Where is DKB needed now? Bullpen?

How many times did Boston get shut out? How many clutch hits did they have? How many games have we seen with our new manager? Trying to have some fun on this snowy night. I will miss Jimmy Smokes. I will really like the new look of the Tigers! I will miss Mister Fister.

Quintin Berry must be muttering to himself over this deal. if only he could hit a little bit more, he too could get a $5 million payday

would be interesting to hear Dombrowski’s take on the difference between Berry and Davis, excluding that Davis hits from the right side.

Take away the last four words and you have your answer.

I had the same thought today! He’s got a ring, though.
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Well, I guess our defense will help stop the scoring and the offense………….well, we’ll have to wait until spring training. Lost a lot of power with Infante, Peralta and Fielder gone.
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Welcome to Detroit, Rajai Davis. Go Tigers!!!!!!!!!!

Davis’ WAR was +1.8 last season. has been positive each of last 6 years except 2011. Tuiasosopo was +0.6 in 2013.

I thought maybe that photo in Miami was fake, but it isn’t. They showed the same thing on MLB Network. Warm & sunny in Florida and killer cold in MI. Brrrrrr!!!!!

It’s warm here, The air has been on all week.

Kemp? Still talking about him?

The tigers are supposedly interested in Joba. I like the idea , he was good against the strongest teams in MLB. A lot of postseason experinece

Jayson Stark at tweeter
#Tigers are telling teams they’re not optimistic about getting an extension done with Max Scherzer but have no plans to deal him.

Finally their thinking about speed and the other fundamentals. Love the Ausmus philosophy already. They built that team around what Leyland wanted and not what was good for the team. Bye Bye Smokey Jim!

Sure will be different I have yet to see how it’s going to be better…I hope I just don’t see it.

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