Well, I hope you like small ball. In what appears to be an answer to the left field dilemma for the Detroit Tigers, they have reportedly agreed to a 2-year deal with former Blue Jays speedster Rajai Davis.
Davis, 33, spent the last three seasons with Toronto and is best known for his speed. Davis stole 45 bases in 51 opportunities a season ago and has swiped 216 bags since 2009. As a team in 2013, the Tigers stole just 35 bases in 55 attempts.
Presumably, the Tigers are planning on platooning Davis with Andy Dirks, meaning Dirks would continue to get most of the starts as a weapon against right-handed pitching. Davis has a strong track record against lefties but does very little damage against right-handed pitching. Davis will also be used in pinch-running situations as a threat to steal, something the Tigers have only had with Quintin Berry in recent seasons.
In 2013, Davis hit .319 with a sturdy .383 on-base % v. left-handed pitching but those numbers tumbled all the way down to .228 and .273 against righties. Davis has expressed an interest in being an everyday player but the numbers do not bear that out.
The signing of Davis marks a continuing trend away from the station-to-station baseball that the Tigers put on display last year. With the additions of Kinsler, Lombardozzi, and Davis, coupled with last year’s acquisition of Jose Iglesias, the Tigers certainly have plenty of speed throughout their lineup now.
As valuable as a guy like Davis can be, don’t be surprised if the Tigers are conducting a mad search for some added home run power at the July 31st trade deadline. With a new manager and a new look roster, 2014 is shaping up to be very interesting in Motown.
To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form
[Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]