Khris Davis and the Athletics have reached an agreement on a one-year deal worth $16.5MM, tweets Jon Heyman of Fancred. Davis had previously been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to receive $18.1MM. Davis, 31, is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility before he may enter free agency next winter. Davis enjoyed a career year in 2018, slugging a Major League-leading 48 home runs and serving as a catalyst for a surprising A’s team that won 97 games and earned a trip to the AL Wild Card game.
Not only is Davis’s contract notable because of its overall dollar value but also because the salary comes in significantly below the figure projected for Davis earlier in the winter. For an Athletics team that entered 2018 with the Majors’ lowest payroll, the $1.6MM difference between Davis’s actual and projected salary certainly holds some importance. In a competitive American League, the Athletics still find themselves seeking out free agents to bolster an injury-battered pitching staff; indeed, the club, which has garnered a reputation as savvy market shoppers, will have an additional $1.6MM at their disposal compared to initial projections. While that money alone won’t buy one of the big names still without a contract, it will grant Oakland some invaluable flexibility as the team seeks to make a second consecutive postseason appearance.