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UPDATE: Rajai Davis agrees to a two-year deal with the Tigers

Dec 10, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Rajai Davis

UPDATE: Looks like the deal is done: two years with the Tigers, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith. The details are unknown.

9AMBen Nicholson-Smith reports that the Tigers are the frontrunners for Rajai Davis. Since, according to Smith, Davis is expected to sign quickly, it would appear that he’s crossing the Ambassador Bridge and heading for Motown.

Davis hit .260/.312/.375 with 45 stolen bases in 331 AB for the Blue Jays last season. Which is sort of what you can always expect from him. If the Tigers want him you’d hope it’s as a fourth outfielder/pinch runner type, but given that they have Andy Dirks in left field at the moment, who knows.

  1. darthicarus - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Oh good, so basically Dirks with less power, lower OBP+, lower OPS, lower BA…but more speed. Bleck.

    • missthemexpos - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Davis is far superior when it comes to defense.

      • weaselpuppy - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        Dirks Defensive value via Fangraphs in 2013? +5.3 runs. Davis? -6. Dirks was one of three finalists for the Gold Glove for LF.

        So, yeah, um totally wrong.

    • tc4306 - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      Better pickup than you might think at first blush.
      Last year vs LHP, BA 319, OBP 383, Slug 474 and OPS 857

      Plus, that speed is a weapon.
      Late in the game, as a pinch runner,
      he can turn just about anybody’s single into a triple.
      Tell me that would not have been helpful during the playoffs.

      On a team with an already potent offense
      he could be a very nice complementary piece.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        That’s what Perez was supposed to be for.

      • timmmah10 - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        Perez? Perez Hilton?

        We needed a real base stealer, so that the skipper can make intelligent moves in the playoffs. My confusion is with Kelly signed, Lombardozzi traded for, Dirks still around, and now Davis… why are we going around signing fringe 4th OFs?

        Out of all of them, I like the Dirks/Davis platoon that seems to be in the works… with the opportunity to use Davis as a pinch runner the days Dirks starts. This pickup strengthens the team, I still don’t understand that Fister trade or re-signing DKB.

  2. rdillon99 - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I would have liked to see the Blue Jays bring him back as a 4th OF/platoon bat versus LHP

  3. proudlycanadian - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    He creates havoc on the base paths. Pitchers know that he is a threat to steal and tend to throw fastballs down the middle when he is on base. This would continue the makeover of a Tigers team that had featured too many elephants and a station to station approach on the bases.

    As well as being a decent person, he can also play all 3 outfield positions well. He is the only player to ever snare a ball that was going over the high outfield fence in Toronto.

    Since he wants a chance to be a starting outfielder, I assume that Detroit has promised him a chance to compete for a starting role. The Jays did not try to resign him because in a much younger Anthony Gose, they have a player with similar skills.

    If he signs with Detroit, I am sure that the fans will like what they see on the field and on the bases.

    • cur68 - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Nice synopsis, PC. I’m gonna miss Davis as a BeaverMan. He had energy and was fun to watch on the basepaths. What’s more, his fielding was pretty dang good, too. He killed lefies and was showing signs of more patience with righties (he had a real blind spot for that 12-6 curve in the dirt from a righty, though. It was painful to watch him essentially truing to hit a ball that bounced a foot in front of him). Still, woe betide the pitcher that walked him: giving Davis 1st base was the virtual equivalent of giving up a double. He’ll do well in Detroit.

    • missthemexpos - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      The question is..Does Anthony Gose take it to the next level or does he fizzle out like some other recent young Jays like Snider and Thames?

  4. historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    What the fork! BULLPEN! BULLPEN! BULLPEN! Am I talking to myself here?

    • spursareold - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Nathan! Nathan! Nathan!

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        That’s 1. We need much more work on the bp than that — even to replace what we’ve lost through attrition.

      • djpostl - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        Unless he can 2-3 innings every time you neeed a whole lot more.

    • clydeserra - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      hey come on, the starters can all go 8, right?

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        That’s what he said.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      Stay tuned. It is early. There is still time to add relief pitchers.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        And I don’t want more punk kids!

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        How about a punk “oldie and mouldy”?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      There are plenty of relievers out there, but position players seem to be going fast. Nathan should be awesome, you picked up a reliever in the Fister trade and there should be plenty of good relievers waiting around for contracts in Jan, Feb and even March.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        I just don’t understand why they are putting so much effort into position players — that are not making us substantially better — when that was not our problem. I’m scratching my head here at the unneccessary pickups.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        I think it is just the feeding frenzy. If a team wants a position player, it seems like the had better move early. The pace at which these guys are coming off the board is amazing. The fact that the Yankees thought it necessary to sign up Brendan Ryan in November is a head-scratcher for me (they could not have waited out some other similarly-skilled player in February for half the cost??)

        That said, Tigers have some work to do on position players. Replacing Fielder with Kinsler is a pretty substantial downgrade, as is replacing Peralta with Iglesias (at least of offense). The team can’t count on another career year from Torii Hunter, and if guys like AJax and Avila disappoint again, they can’t afford a black hole in LF. I think Davis makes a ton of sense as half of a platoon/4th OF guy. Let’s see what Dombrowski has for a master plan here…

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        I feel like we’re shaking things up just to be different — not better…and I’m still waiting to see if they really improve on the thing that cost us the playoffs last year.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        First you have to get back to the things that got you TO the playoffs last year. The team lost a lot of offense and carried some poor offensive players to begin with. I would say Nathan all by himself has already made the bullpen better. There is no point in rushing out to overpay for middle-relievers when there will plenty available for cheap later.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        I don’t mind waiting to shop. I just don’t understand the push to spend on utility people. I guess Ausmus thinks we need back up there. I’m nervous.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        Eventually the team will need someone who can hit from the left side of the plate as well.

  5. pwshrugged - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Reserving judgment until the details are known.

    If he’s going to be our 4th outfielder/pinch runner, then great – we could use more speed and he’ll bring something to the team. If they’re signing him to be the everyday LF, then… well, I won’t be pleased. But either way, the Tigers do need more speed, so it seems clear at this point that Ausmus plans to run more than Leyland did.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      At his age, Leyland was not a threat to run anywhere.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        You didn’t see him moonwalk.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        The key letters you used are “walk”

  6. crashdavis99 - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Interesting. 13 years later the Tigers are finally building a team built for Comerica Park, not old Tiger Stadium. I for one am looking forward to seeing what speed and defense can do for a change instead of slow-pitch softball. Go Tigers!

  7. ejheim62 - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    and to think the Pirates basically gave this guy away a few years back. Meh.

  8. weaselpuppy - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Davis is fine as long as you take advantage of his only two assets: Stealing bases and hitting lefties. Lefties are 28% of all PA since 2010, plus some late inning switches/plate appearances means 250 PAs max. He is a lifetime 650 OPS hitter against righties. Awful. He has hit 252 and OB .308 his last 1200 PAs (half of his career despite being 33 now). his defensive value is in range, but he’s a negative fielder due to jumps and arm, career value wise both on FG and BR. He’s not a starter and not a guy you give 450 PA to a year.

    I like the move. Play to his strengths and stay away from his weaknesses, and there is a very nice little platoon going on in LF.

    now go get a 8th inning guy, re-sign Max and MIggy. Maybe extend Torii and vMart a season (or two for Victor) in season if they continue to perform.

  9. baldcrabbydaddy38 - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    histro, if you can’t see how improving the defense with damn near every single move so far just might be a GREAT IDEA, then I don’t understand why you even bother commenting. I’ve watched this team for 35 years and I for one am sick of the ‘wait around for us to pound the ball out of the park’ game plan. With the starting rotation being as good as it is even with removing Fister, adding defense, to me, is the next logical step. We already have some thump, so maybe getting rid of station to station run scoring by adding some much needed speed is pretty smart. If you haven’t figured out by now that Dombrowski is the absolute best at what he does, then I feel bad for you. The bullpen will be addressed. There’s plenty of time between now and Spring Training.

  10. xjokerz - Dec 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    nice to know Dave Dombrowski is smoking meth

    we lose, Fielder, Peralta, Infante, Fister, Smyly in the BP, Benoit… while adding a declining Kinsler, Nathan, and freaking Raji Davis?

    i had partial season tickets last year, wont happen again this year with a CLEAR CUT WORSE TEAM LOL @ LEFT FIELD. wtf is this a platoon of Davis and Dirks? NO THANKS. i really cant wait for Tiger fans to begin to HATE trading away Garcia for Iglesias, hes like Brandon Inge out there… good glove..has a noodle bat.

    no thanks!

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