With 43 steals as a 35-year-old last season, Rajai Davis became the fourth-oldest player to lead the league in that category. He also reached double-digit home runs for the first time in his career, but a 40-plus point drop in ISO and a decline in hard-hit rate suggests it was largely a fluke. Keep in mind that Progressive Field in Cleveland was a top-five park for power last season, while Davis' new home park in Oakland ranked 29th for power. He will be lucky to even get to half his total from 2016. Further, the A's didn't run much last season, although at this point 20 steals seems to be Davis' floor regardless of team context. He should have center field mostly to himself, meaning he should approach 500 plate appearances again, but the totality of Davis' skill set is not worth paying a premium for.
Davis has gone 9-for-36 with four runs scored, one RBI, two walks, eight strikeouts and four stolen bases (four attempts) through 13 spring games. The numbers don't look great for Davis early on, but he has been heating up lately with hits in four consecutive games. Most importantly, the 36-year-old is still running well, and he has been leading off regularly for the A's. Davis led the American League and ranked fourth in all of baseball in stolen bases last season with 43 in 49 attempts.
Davis signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Athletics on Tuesday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports. Davis is coming off of a productive 2016 campaign in which he slashed .249/.306/.388, hit 12 home runs and tallied 43 stolen bases over 134 games with the Indians. He'll likely see a dip in his run production in 2017, though he still provides plenty of stolen base value and will likely see extensive playing time with the rebuilding Athletics.
Davis did not receive a qualifying offer from the Indians and is now a free agent, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports. This is not at all surprising, as Davis would have surely accepted a $17.2 million qualifying offer, which would have cost the Indians a draft pick. The 36-year-old was worth two wins last year, according to Fangraphs, producing arguably his best fantasy season to date. He hit a career high 12 home runs and stole 40-plus bases for the third time in the last five years. His fantasy value will really hinge on where he signs, because he needs a steady role in order to accumulate the counting stats that make him useful.
Davis is not in Monday's lineup for Game 3 of the ALDS against the Red Sox. As is typically the case, Davis will take a seat with a right-hander on the mound and will yield the left field responsibilities to the switch-hitting Coco Crisp. Davis is 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts through the first two games of the ALDS and will likely work his way back into the lineup the next time Cleveland squares off against a southpaw.
Davis is not in the lineup Monday against Detroit. Davis will sit for the second time in four games, as the Indians go with an outfield of Lonnie Chisenhall in right, Tyler Naquin in center and Coco Crisp in left. Davis is hitting just .184 with two RBI in the month of September.