(6:57pm EST) The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired speedy outfielder Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics for Double-A relief pitchers Daniel Farquhar and Trystan Magnuson according to new Jays MLB.com reporter Gregor Chisholm (via Twitter). The announcement was also confirmed via a team press release on the official Jays website.
Davis, whose only knock would be his age (30), is a career .281/.330/.383 hitter in stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland Athletics. He is entering his 2nd year of arbitration eligibility and will surely receive a raise from the $1.35M he made in 2010, but he is under team control until the end of the 2013 season. Rajai Davis isn’t the type of name that screams blockbuster trade, but after a more in depth look, he should help the Jays in 2011 and beyond.
With acquiring Davis, Alex Anthopoulos addresses multiple concerns the Jays had last season. For starters, barring any other offseason moves, it appears Davis will be the Opening Day leadoff man for the Blue Jays. Davis is a career .279/.332/.370 hitter in the leadoff spot, but was decent in that role this past season for the Athletics posting a .291/.336/.382 line in 58 games leading off. His low amount of walks is a bit concerning though.
In addition to posting decent numbers in the leadoff position, a leadoff hitter wouldn’t be complete without possessing some kind of speed to be a base stealing threat. That issue gets addressed with Davis as well, as he swiped 50 bags in 2010, being caught only 11 times for a 81.9% success rate. He has increased his amount of stolen bases every season he has played in the Majors, including a total of 91 bags in the last 2 seasons. Davis should fit right into John Farrell’s coaching strategy and help manufacture some runs via some intelligent running on the base paths.
Davis is also great against left-handed pitching, which was another issue the Jays had in 2010. Davis, a right handed hitter, has a career line of .292/.347/.402 versus lefties, and was above his career numbers last season posting a .304/.349/.435 line versus southpaws in 2010 with the A’s. This is perhaps the biggest element that Jays fans should be interested in besides his speed, because the Jays were absolutely atrocious versus left-handers last season.
Not to be overlooked is Davis’ defense in the outfield. This move seems to assume that Jose Bautista will be patrolling third base next season and make Davis the Opening Day right fielder. Even if that’s not the case, Davis committed only 4 errors last season to go along with 5 outfield assists, so he’s serviceable anywhere in the outfield. According to UZR/150, his mark of -10.2 would be somewhat of a concern, but he posted a 10.0 mark the previous season. Davis has a career UZR/150 of 1.4.
Some would feel that Anthopoulos overpaid for Davis by giving up Farquhar and Magnuson, but the Jays had some expendable bullpen depth to use in a trade. Farquhar didn’t seem to be one of Anthopoulos’ favorites, as he was mentioned in the Dan Uggla trade talks as well. Farquhar played the entire 2010 season in Double-A New Hampshire, where he went 4-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 76.2 innings, to go along with a 4.8 BB/9 and a 9.3 K/9.
Trystan Magnuson will be the piece of this trade that Jays fans are going to be disappointed to see going the other way. Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Magnuson was one of the anchors of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ bullpen and contributed a lot down the stretch to help them advance to the playoffs. A 2007 1st round pick by the Jays, Magnuson had a great personality and will surely be missed by all of his teammates and Jays fans. He posted a 2.58 ERA in 73.1 innings in 2010, and has a career K/9 of 6.5, H/9 of 8.8, and BB/9 of 2.9.
It’s too early to tell which team won this deal, as it makes sense for both teams. Oakland receives two relievers that are much better than the two they gave up to Kansas City for David DeJesus, and the Jays address a variety of needs in one single acquisition.
The exciting offseason continues, and there’s never a dull moment with Alex Anthopoulos at the helm!