The Rangers announced they’ve placed Khris Davis on unconditional release waivers. This was the expected outcome after the club designated Davis for assignment on Tuesday.
Texas acquired the designated hitter/corner outfielder from the A’s over the winter. While they surely hoped he’d rebound from back-to-back down seasons at the plate, the primary motivation for the trade was financial. The Rangers sent Elvis Andrus, owed $14MM in each of 2021 and 2022, to Oakland in exchange for Davis’ expiring $16.75MM contract and a pair of prospects. (Texas is paying down $13.5MM of Andrus’ contract over the next two years). The deal allowed the Rangers to assume more money in 2021, when they didn’t expect to contend anyhow, to shave nearly $7MM off their 2022 books.
Ultimately, the Rangers didn’t give Davis much of a leash. He began the year on the injured list and received just 61 plate appearances- putting up a poor .157/.262/.333 slash line- before Texas cut bait. It’s the third consecutive year of well below-average hitting for Davis, who was one of the game’s top power bats during his 2016-18 peak in Oakland.
Technically, teams will have 48 hours to put in a claim for Davis. That’s a moot point, as he’ll assuredly pass through waivers unclaimed. Any team that claimed Davis would assume the remainder of his salary. No team will do that, leaving the Rangers on the hook for the money.
Once he clears the wire, Davis will be free to sign with any team. A signing club would then only owe him the league minimum salary for any time he spends on the major league roster, which would be subtracted from Texas’ outlay. Given his lack of defensive value and recent offensive woes, it’s possible he’ll have to settle for a minor league deal once he hits the open market.