To no one’s surprise, the rebuilding Orioles have been extremely quiet this offseason, focusing more on front office, player development and analytics hires while also piecing together a coaching staff under new GM Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde. However, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tweets that Baltimore does have some interest in free-agent corner infielder/designated hitter Matt Davidson, who was non-tendered by the White Sox earlier this winter. Davidson, 28 in March, more than doubled his career walk rate last season, drawing a free pass at a 10.5 percent clip after walking in just 4.3 percent of his plate appearances in 2017. However, the increase in patience came with a bit of a dip in power, and strikeouts remained a severe issue (33.3 percent). In all, the slugger hit .228/.319/.419 with 20 big flies in 496 plate appearances. Davidson has 46 home runs in his past 939 PAs but is still a work in progress at the plate. He could potentially give Baltimore some pop off the bench, and his right-handed bat could help to shield Chris Davis from opposing lefties as the veteran attempts to rebound from a catastrophic 2018 season.
More from the American League…
- Right-hander Shawn Kelley has been connected to a few teams in recent weeks, but it doesn’t sound as if he’ll be back with the Athletics in 2019. Agent Mike McCann tells Ben Ross of NBC Sports California that while his client has had contact with several teams this winter, Oakland isn’t one of them. Fancred’s Jon Heyman recently tweeted that Kelley has heard from 10 clubs this winter, so the righty should find his way onto a roster in the coming weeks. Kelley, who’ll turn 35 in April, posted a 2.94 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 1.29 HR/9 and a 30.2 percent grounder rate in 49 innings between the A’s and the Nats in ’18 — his third sub-3.00 ERA in the past four seasons.
- Adrian Gonzalez worked out for the Tigers, Royals and Diamondbacks this past week, tweets J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group. The five-time All-Star, who is hoping to continue his career in 2019, batted .237/.299/.373 with six homers in 187 plate appearances with the Mets last season before being cut loose. Detroit would seem to have the most playing time available for the soon-to-be 37-year-old Gonzalez, though he could certainly serve as a veteran bat off the bench in either Kansas City or Arizona. The two American League teams are, of course, a better on-paper fit given that Gonzalez could spend some time at DH in either spot.
- Yandy Diaz projects as the likely starter for the Rays at first base following the DFA of C.J. Cron and the trade of Jake Bauers (which brought Diaz to Tampa Bay), writes Juan Toribio of MLB.com. Many fans and pundits alike raised an eyebrow when the Rays shipped out Bauers, long one of the organization’s top prospects, to acquire the 27-year-old Diaz, who has yet to prove himself at the game’s top level. Vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom spoke of Diaz’s upside with the bat, however, specifically touting Diaz’s ability to hit the ball with authority — a point that has long been written about as Diaz has recorded highly intriguing exit velocity numbers. Toribio notes that the Rays feel that, given Diaz’s penchant for hitting the ball hard, they can coax more power production out of him. Ji-Man Choi figures to serve as the primary designated hitter for the Rays and the top alternative to Diaz at first base, Toribio adds.