To this point, the 27-year-old Davidson has mostly made a name for himself on the offensive end. He was a former top-100 prospect who combined for 46 home runs with the White Sox from 2017-18, during which he batted a so-so .224/.291/.345 (94 wRC+) in 939 plate appearances. He’s coming off the better of those two years, though, as he walked a career-high 10.5 percent of the time (up from 4.3 in 2017) and posted a 104 wRC+ across 496 PAs. More interestingly, Davidson was somewhat of a late-season factor out of Chicago’s bullpen, as he tossed 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in three appearances from June through August.
Since the 2018 campaign ended, Davidson has worked to become more of a legitimate option on the mound, and the White Sox reportedly liked what they saw out of the right-hander’s 92 mph fastball. Still, rather than pay Davidson a projected $2.4MM via arbitration in 2019, Chicago decided to non-tender him in November.
Now, if he joins the Rays, it’s likely Davidson’s main purpose would be to augment the club’s corner infield. It appears Tampa Bay is in OK shape at third base, where Matt Duffy turned in a fine season in 2018, but it may not be as set at first. Since last season ended, the Rays have non-tendered 30-HR hitter C.J. Cron, who’s now a Twin, leaving Tampa Bay with Ji-Man Choi as its projected starter across the diamond from Duffy. The left-handed Choi logged tremendous production last year, but his success came over just 221 PAs, and he was borderline unplayable against southpaw pitchers. The righty-swinging Davidson destroyed lefties, though, meaning he and Choi could form a platoon at first.
On the mound, Davidson may further help the low-budget Rays innovate after they used the opener to encouraging results last season. Plus, as Rosenthal notes, he’d give the Rays another two-way player to join young first baseman/pitcher Brendan McKay, whom the franchise drafted fourth overall in 2017 and who ranks as MLB.com’s 24th-best prospect.