Chris Davis Rumors
- Chris Davis, who suggested earlier in the week that he wouldn't oppose a trade, clarified his thoughts on 103.3 ESPN's Ben and Skin show, without changing his stance much. "If they're not going to give me an opportunity to play in Arlington I think the fairest thing and the right thing to do would be to give me a chance to play somewhere else," Davis said.
- I looked at potential destinations for Davis yesterday and today Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests one of the teams I mentioned makes sense (Twitter link). Heyman likes the Rays as a potential suitor for Davis.
- Many of the Angels' established hitters tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that they're enjoying watching powerful first base prospect Mark Trumbo this spring.
- As Matt Eddy of Baseball America explains, the Mariners released and re-signed Nate Robertson after learning that he needs elbow surgery.
Teams are asking the Rangers about Chris Davis and, by the sounds of it, he wouldn't mind if they listened to offers. Davis told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that he wouldn't oppose a trade if the Rangers were interested in making one.
“I just want to be in the big leagues, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” Davis said. “In all fairness, I’ve done everything the Rangers have asked me to do. I’ve been a good sport about it. I’ve had a smile on my face and a good attitude about it. When it comes down to it, the fair thing to do is to give me a shot either here or somewhere else.”
Mitch Moreland is the favorite to become the Rangers' regular first baseman, so Davis, who has an option remaining, could find himself headed back to the minors despite his strong spring. But the 24-year-old Texan has some appeal to other clubs.
So which teams could use a powerful, affordable player who can play first and third and who has yet to hit left-handed pitching or hold down a job in the majors for a full season? Here's a speculative look at some teams that may have called GM Jon Daniels about the former top prospect:
- D'Backs - Though the D'Backs have been discussing another one of Texas' infielders, Davis doesn't appear to be a likely fit for Arizona. The D'Backs already have a couple veteran third basemen and three left-handed first basemen (Brandon Allen, Juan Miranda and Russell Branyan) in the mix.
- Marlins - Another one of the teams that inquired about Michael Young, the Marlins could acquire Davis to complement right-handed corner players Matt Dominguez, Gaby Sanchez and Wes Helms.
- Indians - Jason Donald, Matt LaPorta and Jayson Nix, three right-handed hitters, figure to get most of the playing time at the corners for now. Two left-handed hitters, Nick Johnson and top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall, threaten to join the big league club before long, but until then the Indians could mix Davis' left-handed bat in and see what happens.
- Rays - Though Dan Johnson and Ben Zobrist are capable of playing first, the Rays might like the idea of buying low on Davis.
- Blue Jays - The Blue Jays could also be intrigued. However, they appear set at the corners and DH with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind.
As Mitch Moreland solidifies his case to become the Rangers’ regular first baseman, the team is receiving inquiries on the availability of another young infielder. GM Jon Daniels told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that rival teams are calling about Chris Davis.
"We have been asked about him," Daniels said. "Obviously there is no clean fit as we sit in Spring Training, but we all know things can change. We have to be prepared for anything. We've got time to see how things play out."
Davis doesn’t seem likely to win the starting first base job despite a .387 spring average and two home runs. Manager Ron Washington says it's Moreland's job to lose and that he has been impressed with the first baseman's offense and defense.
The Rangers could send Davis to the minor leagues without exposing him to waivers if they aren’t swayed by any offers, since the 24-year-old has an option remaining. Davis, who has been playing third base this spring, has a .248/.300/.459 line in three seasons as a major leaguer. Like Moreland, he struggles against left-handed pitching.
I looked ahead to the year that awaits the two first basemen last week.
- The Rockies' offer of a seven-year, $80MM extension was probably less than Gonzalez could have earned between arbitration and potential free agency several years down the road, writes Heyman, but Gonzalez accepted it anyway.
- Gonzalez, who grew up poor in Venezuela, is exceptionally mature and humble for his age, according to Heyman, and rather than chase top dollar, he preferred the security of the long-term deal with a team that's he comfortable with.
- Gonzalez had the full support of his agent, Scott Boras, whose clients typically go to free agency rather than signing extensions. Boras provided Gonzalez with the information indicating that Gonzalez could probably make more money if he waited till free agency.
- Boras praised Gonzalez for handling and analyzing the information, noting that Gonzalez turned down three or four offers before accepting the one that he did.
- Turning down top dollar is not new for Gonzalez, however. He accepted a $150K bonus as a 16-year-old international free agent when he could have demanded as much as $1MM, writes Heyman.
- Gonzalez is a close friend of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who also signed a long-term extension with Colorado this offseason. Tulowitzki said part of the reason he signed his extension is because Gonzalez had told him that he wanted to sign long-term, too.
The Phillies are concerned about Chase Utley's injured right knee but, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com they hadn't called the Rangers about Michael Young as of this morning. Here's the latest on the Phillies and notes from around the league:
- Phillies scout Charley Kerfeld had been watching the Rangers and may have been scouting Young.
- Chris Davis has an option left, so the Rangers are expected to send him down to start the season in the minors, despite his strong spring performance so far.
- 22-year-old Dodgers prospect Rubby De La Rosa is impressing with his upper-90s fastball and command.
- Though the Padres would like Bengie Molina to return to action at a bargain price, they're under the impression that the backstop is in "retirement mode." The Padres expressed interest in Molina earlier in the week, after Gregg Zaun retired, but they don't have much left in their budget.
- It remains unlikely that Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo will break camp with the Mets, even though the team doesn't have tremendous depth from the left side out of the bullpen or at second base.
To call 2011 a make or break year for Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis wouldn't technically be right. They aren't even arbitration eligible yet, so they can't really 'make it' the way prospective free agents can. But this season will undoubtedly be crucial to determining the future of the two first basemen and whether they stay in Arlington.
Davis arrived in the majors two years before Moreland as a highly-touted prospect. His .311/.370/.569 minor league line has yet to translate to the majors, however; the 24-year-old has hit just .248/.300/.459 as a major leaguer. Southpaws have held Davis to a .666 OPS, but he has shown power overall, hitting one homer per 20.7 at bats.
Moreland (pictured), who's a year older than Davis, debuted last year and posted a .255/.364/.469 line in 173 plate appearances before posting a .900 OPS in the postseason. Like Davis, he's a left-handed hitter who struggles to hit southpaws (.604 OPS last year). He's the favorite to win the starting job and has impressed GM Jon Daniels, who told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that "our guys viewed him as one of the best workers and makeups [around]."
Neither player has any guarantees from the Rangers, who are in win-now mode and aren't in a position to be overly patient with developing players. Davis has drawn trade interest in the past, so the Rangers could consider dealing him if he doesn't produce more or becomes redundant. Moreland has done everything the Rangers have asked him to do, but he's just 224 plate appearances into his MLB career, even if you count the playoffs. Let's not assume that he can be a cog at first base.
Next year's free agent class features Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, two sluggers who figure to be looking for deals worth $180MM-plus. It's not hard to imagine Texas pursuing Fielder or Pujols next winter if the Rangers continue winning and the new ownership group decides its new TV deal allows for expanded payroll.
Even if the Rangers don't go after the most intriguing and expensive free agent first basemen, others, such as Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena, will be available (or the Rangers could opt to make Michael Young their everyday first baseman). Whether second tier first basemen like Lee and Pena appeal to the Rangers front office depends in large part on how Moreland and Davis perform over the course of the next six months.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Jon Daniels' contract extension isn't the only news out of the Rangers' camp today. Here's the latest on the defending AL champs...
- Now that Daniels is under contract through 2015, the club's next step is to lock up other front office members, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "You put good people in place and then you keep them in place," said team president Nolan Ryan. "It tells people who you are as an organization and it tells new players coming in what you are all about." Ryan said that assistant GM Thad Levine could have a new deal finalized by this weekend.
- Daniels has "exchanged hellos" with Michael Young but the two haven't talked about his offseason trade demand, the GM tells the Galloway & Co. podcast (and passed on by ESPNDallas). Young said he had no plans to speak to Daniels upon his arrival at Spring Training two weeks ago, and didn't wish to be a distraction to the team by revisiting the issue.
- In a radio interview with 103.3 ESPN's Ian Fitzsimmons (passed on by Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com), Chris Davis says he's playing third base during Spring Training, which he believes will help him find playing time somewhere, if not necessarily with Texas. The Rangers have the hot corner covered by Adrian Beltre and they have another (albeit unproven) lefty-swinging first baseman in Mitch Moreland. Davis drew trade interest last summer -- no surprise given his career .311/.370/.569 line in five minor league seasons.
9:54pm: The Cubs and Rays met again to talk about a potential trade that would send Garza to Chicago for prospects, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Brewers and Rangers have also met with the Rays about Garza, but the Cubs have the strongest current bid, according to Levine. However, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hears that talks between the Rays and Brewers did not progress (Twitter link).
5:17pm: The Rays have been uninspired by the offers for Garza and may hold on to the right-hander until next summer, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).
Garza, 27, would be the best available pitcher aside from Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke. He posted a 3.91 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9, and 35.8% groundball rate in 204 2/3 innings this year. Garza could earn $6MM+ in arbitration for 2011 and is under team control through '13. As a Super Two, he'll go to arbitration four times. Garza probably has a touch more trade value than Shaun Marcum did despite the higher salary, given the extra year of control. We learned yesterday that Garza may also interest the Rangers and Brewers.
8:52pm: The Cubs like Davis, but don't want to part with much in a trade, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).
Davis, 24, has the makings of a slugger, but has struggled to realize his potential. He has 39 homers in 872 big league plate apperances, which projects to 25 or 30 over the course of a full season. Davis has a .248/.300/.459 line in parts of three major league seasons and he strikes out in 32% of his plate appearances.
The Rangers claimed O'Day off of waivers from the Mets in 2009 and saw him develop into a valuable cog in their bullpen. The sidearmer has a 1.99 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 117 2/3 innings for Texas.
The Rangers are getting "much trade interest" in first baseman Chris Davis, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Major league sources say that Davis has become a popular name and the Red Sox, who picked up Carlos Delgado today, are among the teams that have shown interest.
Davis is now back in Triple-A Oklahoma where he has hit .355/.409/.552 with ten homers in 72 games this season. However, the corner infielder was unable to replicate that in the majors this year, posting a slash line of .188/.265/.267 in 31 games. Despite his struggles in the major leagues this season, there are some who feel that he could be a late-blooming bat in the mold of Carlos Pena or Russell Branyan.
Sullivan points out that Davis is unlikely to get traded in-season as he probably wouldn't clear waivers. However, if Mitch Moreland makes a strong case for being the Rangers' starting first baseman, then Davis could be a trade candidate this winter.