Where Might Chris Davis End Up?

With Opening Day nearing, Chris Davis is staring at the prospect of a fourth stint in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Mitch Moreland is the favorite to win the Rangers’ first base job. Mike Napoli will get some DH starts along with Michael Young, who was booted off third base when Adrian Beltre signed. It’s possible that Young is shipped elsewhere, but the three years and $48 remaining on his contract make that unlikely unless Texas includes lots of cash or Nolan Ryan treats a rival GM like Robin Ventura, applying a vice-like headlock and shouting, “eat the contract!”

If he’s destined for Round Rock, Davis told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that he’d prefer the Rangers to let him get a fresh start in a new organization:

I just want to be in the big leagues, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” Davis said. “In all fairness, I’ve done everything the Rangers have asked me to do. I’ve been a good sport about it. I’ve had a smile on my face and a good attitude about it. When it comes down to it, the fair thing to do is to give me a shot either here or somewhere else.

Of course, Texas is under no obligation to accommodate Davis’ request. The 25-year-old has a minor league option remaining, and the club could call on his bat if Moreland struggles or Ryan does manage to put the death lock on some unsuspecting GM, who then has no choice but to take Young.

But let’s assume for the moment that the Rangers are actively shopping Davis as a first base / third base / DH trade chip (the 6-foot-3, 230 pounder is considered a liability at third, though). Where might he end up?

MLBTradeRumors listed the Diamondbacks, Marlins, Indians, Rays and Blue Jays as potential fits for Davis. For 2011, Oliver projects a .342 wOBA from the lefty slugger. How does that compare to the incumbents that Davis might challenge on those teams?

1B Russell Branyan: .363
Juan Miranda: .346
Brandon Allen: .326

3B Melvin Mora: .311
Geoff Blum: .298

It’s not clear that Davis is better than The Muscle or Miranda, and the D-Backs already have their own first base prospect in purgatory in Allen. If Arizona could stomach Davis’ defense at third, though, he’d certainly be an offensive upgrade over the geriatric Mora/Blum platoon of doom.

1B Gaby Sanchez: .338

3B Matt Dominguez: .297
Wes Helms: .284

Davis could be a fit at third if Florida deems Dominguez in need of more minor league time, though again Davis’ defense would cut into his value. In any case, Dominguez will be at third shortly, and as Joe Pawlikowski recently noted, the Marlins may already have to figure out how Sanchez fits in if Chris Coghlan shifts from center field to left and Logan Morrison heads back to first base. It’s hard to see where Davis would find ABs long-term, though Florida does have bullpen options that could entice Texas if Neftali Feliz becomes a starter.

1B Matt LaPorta: .323

3B Jayson Nix: .286
Jason Donald: .298

DH Travis Hafner: .342

LaPorta’s career has flat lined. And while Lonnie Chisenhall is just a call away at Triple-A, Davis could be an offensive upgrade at third in the interim. Still, the Indians might want to see if CC Sabathia trade acquisition LaPorta and Cliff Lee pickup Donald will produce anything other than heartache. Pronk is 33 and has a bum shoulder, but he’s still a good hitter. And considering he’s owed about $29 million over the next two seasons ($13M in each of 2011 and 2012, plus a buyout for 2013), he’s not going anywhere.

1B Dan Johnson: .359

Oliver is bullish about the 31-year-old Johnson’s chances of getting on base and popping extra-base hits over a full season. Davis is considerably younger, but he’d likely post an OBP 30-40 points lower than Johnson for a Rays team still vigorously pursuing a playoff spot.

Blue Jays
1B Adam Lind: .341

DH Edwin Encarnacion: .339

Lind is expected to move to first base for the Jays. Even if Jose Bautista moves off third base and plays more in an outfielder corner, Brett Lawrie is close to the majors. But Davis could be a plausible alternative at DH to Encarnacion, who has missed large chunks of time the past two years with wrist and forearm injuries.

Davis’ relative youth and power potential will attract interest if the Rangers put him on the market. But as this exercise shows, it’s hard to find positions around the league at which he’s a clear upgrade. As a low-OBP slugger with negative defensive value, Davis is more likely to bring back a decent ‘pen arm in a trade than a quality prospect.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

45 Responses to “Where Might Chris Davis End Up?”

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  1. Bobby A says:

    Is LaPorta’s career really dead? I don’t know anything, but I thought he’d be a good sleeper this year and finally step it up.

    Notice his difference in production from Wins to Losses in 2010…


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    • JR says:

      Do or die for Laporta this year, but he’s gonna get all of 2011 to prove himself. Chisenhall’s the Indians’ top prospect. Davis isn’t a fit for the Tribe this year. If Laporta doesn’t perform this year and the Rangers hang on to Davis, Cleveland would be a prime trade partner in 2012.

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    • baty says:

      Yeah, the statement, “his career has flat lined”, caught my eye immediately.

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  2. Shaggychild says:

    He just seems like a fit in Arizona, doesn’t he? Ks and Ks and Ks.

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  3. Joltin' Joe says:

    What about the Padres? Pirates? Royals? Depending on injuries/ineffectiveness, the Braves and Cubs could be players too. I’m sure Oakland would love to have him but intradivision trades are not likely at this point.

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  4. mike wants wins says:

    The Royals are flush with Dh/1B prospects, why would they want him?

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I was thinking the same thing. That may actually be a problem for the Royals, that many of their prospects are the same “type/position”.

      If the cardinals lose Pujols, I was thinking it might not be a bad idea for them to offer Hosmer or Ka’auille (sp?) for Rasmus. Butler is a 1B/DH type of Myers has been moved to RF.

      They’re going to have 3-4 guys trying to play 1B/DH.

      Anyway Chris Davis is going to end up in AAA because that’s where his talent fits. He’s not an upgrade to anyone.

      He is the very definition of replacement player (for 1B’s).

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      • Colin says:

        I agree with you that Chris Davis will end up in AAA. He may think he’s “done everything they’ve asked” of him, but that’s not true. They’ve asked him to produce at the major league level, and he hasn’t done that.

        One thing I disagree with you on is the Royals trading Hosmer for Rasmus. Uh-uh. That’s not going to happen. Hosmer ain’t going anywhere…he and Moustakas are the offensive cornerstones of KC’s future.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I said, “or KIla”.

        I don’t see how Butler, Hosmer, and Kila can all play at the same time.

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      • S.M. Jenkins says:

        Kila Ka’aihue for Colby Rasmus? Even Tony LaRussa (who apparently can’t even begin to hide his disdain for Rasmus for some reason) wouldn’t push for such a lopsided deal.

        I think Rasmus would hold tremendous value on the theoretical trade market & it would take a lot to pry him from St. Louis.

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  5. slugdog says:

    Donald isn’t from the Sabathia trade, but from the Lee trade with the Phillies.

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    • Greg says:

      The Cardinals would be fools to give up on Rasmus for as little as Ka’auille. Although I do agree that trading Ka’auille is probably a good move for the Royals. I suspect he’ll get plenty of PT this year to see if he can produce at the Major league level.

      Getting a young cost controlled and talented CF like Rasmus would be a great coup for the Royals but I can’t see the upside in it for the Cardinals.

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      • Kampfer says:

        LaRussa HATES Rasmus. So there is reason to do that. Billy Butler for Rasmus may actually be good enough, given how unwilling is Tony to give some playing time to Rasmus

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  6. Big Jgke says:

    I think he’s gotta be an upgrade over Encarnacion in almost any position/playing time scenario

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  7. CircleChange11 says:

    I would have to look it up, but I’d imagine that EE is a platoon 1B v. LHP.

    I doubt CD is an upgrade in that scenario.

    Davis made a decent early splash and then “regressed” drastically.

    He doesn’t excell in BA, OBP, or power for the position that he plays.

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  8. Rob says:

    The Cubs have been linked to him in the past. They don’t have any real depth at 1B or 3B to speak of, and he may make sense as an injury backup this year with an eye on him as a potential starter next year depending on how FA goes with Pena and Ramirez.

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  9. CircleChange11 says:

    I was not aware that EE was slated to be the full-time DH.

    Even then I view EE as having greater power potential than CD. But a low average power hitting player would seemingly fit in with TOR’s philosophy.

    If CD can be had for cheap, it might be worth exploring for platoon/depth.

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    • DrEasy says:

      Is Chris Davis’ offense better than Juan Rivera’s? If so, move Bautista to RF, EE to 3B, Lind to DH and put Chris Davis at 1B. Trade Rivera or spread at-bats in favorable platoon situations. Everybody gets to play where they want to play, and the Jays have themselves another guy with upside.

      But what should the Jays give up to get Davis? The Jays have a glut of relievers, would trading one or two of them do the trick?

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    • S.M. Jenkins says:

      I know this is all conjecture, but Toronto would seem to be a fit. Although I feel their farm system has been a bit overrated this offseason, they do have plenty of depth to facilitate a trade like this (or in the bullpen as opined previously by a poster although I doubt Texas would want to take on substantial salary – perhaps Chris Davis for David Purcey SU?). I doubt Davis has a ton of value right now, so Toronto could probably pry him realtively cheaply but Texas probably likes the idea of Davis in AAA if Mitch Moreland doesn’t produce as expected.

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      • Matt says:

        Jays farm system is rated correctly I would say, and if anything, some players are showing signs of progression earlier than anticipated (Gose, Lawrie, Thames, etc). I think AA has done a nice job adding to the system.

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  10. Jon E says:

    I think Chris Davis would be a great compliment….if not a flat out improvement….for the Tigers and Brandon Inge.

    The Tigers committed to Inge for two more years though…..I have no idea why they needed that second year. I have to believe Inge would have taken the lone season if the Tigers had driven that point home.

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  11. Lewie Pollis says:

    I’d love to see Davis in Cleveland if the cost isn’t too high. I looked at the Davis-to-the-Indians situation at Wahoo Blues:


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  12. t ball says:

    FWIW, Jason Parks and Jason Cole have had surprisingly positive reviews of his work at 3B this spring, saying he might be able to hold his own just fine over there now.

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  13. TwoWire says:

    CD’s “negative defensive value”? Must be written by a person who hasn’t watched him play. His offensive struggles last year were tolerated only because of his excellent play in the field and the fact that he didn’t bring those struggles out to the field with him.

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    • mike says:

      The guy who wrote this is clueless.. Alot of as a matter of fact type statements that are just wrong on their face.

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  14. Kimo says:

    How about the Dodgers as a destination? I believe there is a very good chance that Loney will be non tendered next year and Blake is shaky already. Loney only looks good due to RBI’s and with little OBP in front of him and no slugging protection behind him I see about 70 RBI’s max for him this season if his good health continues.

    Blake is already injured and Carroll should not be full time at second if Uribe has to move to third. Davis is a potential slugger that the Dodgers should take a chance on.

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  15. ursmokingcrack says:

    David Golebiewski, u r an idiot. you don’t even have a clue what you are talking about in reference to Davis’ defense. he is a vacuum cleaner. maybe you ought to do a little more research before you talk out of your a$$ on a subject that you obviously know nothing about.

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  16. The_Beard says:

    Rasmus for Kila??? John Mozeliak would be fired on the spot. Can you imagine if Pujols didn’t re-sign and St. Louis was left with Kila in place of Albert and Rasmus?

    Hosmer for Rasmus is closer to an actual trade.. but for Colin, the guy who said it would never happen from KC’s end…why? Rasmus has already showed an above average bat and projects for more offense, and is a beast in CF. Hosmer plays a far less valuable position and has less than 200 AA AB’s. I agree that he looks like a great prospect, but I don’t think St. Louis takes that deal at all.

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    • S.M. Jenkins says:

      I think Eric Hosmer is fully capable of moving to RF. In fact, it could be a likelihood if KC wants to keep the relatively young Billy Butler from becoming a full time DH in the near future.

      I don’t know who would blink in this deal as I feel Colby Rasmus is being underestimated by those who think Hosmer is a clearly superior commodity. I feel St. Louis would probably have to throw in a little something but that’s due mostly to perception probably. With Billy Butler & Wil Myers in the system, it’s not as if KC has a dearth of high impact CI/corner OF bats either at the MLB level or on the horizon. Some feel Mike Moustakas is better served at a spot other than 3b too. I doubt it happens, but I think GMs would be lining up if Rasmus were really on the trading block.

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  17. winojohn says:

    Chris Davis will start the year in AAA then either he or Moreland will be part of the deal for Chris Carpenter in July. If Davis shows he can play 3rd, he’ll be in the deal.

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  18. Jgemonic says:

    Uh…wouldn’t the Rangers book looking for a ‘decent pen arm’ right about now?
    If Feliz were to move to the rotation, Davis and a low level prospect just might turn into their new closer.

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    • Jgemonic says:


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    • S.M. Jenkins says:

      Do they want Frank Francisco back?

      Texas wouldn’t want to take on Francisco, Jon Rauch or Octavio Dotel’s salaries in all probability. They’re better off with either Alex Ogando or Mark Lowe probably.

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  19. Tanner says:

    He’s done everything the Rangers have asked except play good.

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  20. Brian Duvall says:

    i think the mariners could use him. even with smoak at first, cust is no certainty, and as a back up corner infielder hes got mere upside than Tui. or any of the other offensively challenged player they roll out.

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    • Jgemonic says:

      Mariners have no need for Davis. Plenty of inhouse options. No that does not include Tui.

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  21. Txdodger73 says:

    With Pedro Borbon quickly falling out of favor with Ron Washington, (not hitting and has committed 5 errors this spring), would Daniels, Ryan, and Wash consider pulling a move they would rather avoid…moving Josh Hamilton back to CF? If Hamilton were to shift back to CF, it essentially opens up a spot for Davis at 1B, with Mitch Moreland moving back to the OF, presumably sharing time in LF with David Murphy. To me this would be the easy shortterm solution for the Rangers, as opposed to making a potentially bad trade. This scenario also buys the Rangers time to find out if Davis has truly turned the corner, and it gives Daniels time to find a bonafide CF for the longrun. At this point Rangers need a potential closer and CF, both of which are going to be difficult to find right before the start of the season.



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    • Eric says:

      Few things…
      1.) Its Julio Borbon, not Pedro

      2.) I think the biggest reason they were going to move Hamilton to LF wasn’t so they could get Borbon into center, but because playing LF is easier on the body for Hamilton than manning CF is. Also, I read an article yesterday from Evan Grant, one of the Rangers beat writers, that said Borbon is still going to be the Rangers starting CF when the season starts.

      3.) If the Rangers were to have Hamilton start in CF the majority of the time, I think they would play David Murphy in the outfield and keep their 1B/DH situation as is.

      Ever since his sensational half-season in his rookie year, Davis simply hasn’t produced enough in the meaningful (non-AAA/spring training) ABs to be handed a roster spot really, especially with the 1B/3B/DH additions the Rangers have gotten since his last demotion.

      Thats just my opinion(s) though

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      • Eric says:

        Also…I hope my first statement didn’t come across as condescending or whatever…just wanted to let you know, although I’m sure it was just an honest mistake.

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  22. CircleChange11 says:

    I would not trade Rasmus.

    But my big fear is that one of TLR’s last moves would be to push for trading him … Just because that’s the kind of guy he is.

    TLR has continually sent messages to Rasmus, going back to keeping him the minors to the comments he continues to make.

    From the Royals perspective … They’re going to have to do “something”, b/c Hosmer, Kila, Myers, and Butler all cannot play 1B, RF, and DH at the same time, and they’re all likely full time players. They could think about Hosmer or another in LF if Gordon does not work out.

    Again, I really hope StL does not trade Rasmus, but I get the feeling that the situation of “him or me” btw Rasmus and TLR is arriving. Hopefully TLR’s retirement is the solution to that situation. I also get the feeling that Berkman (unfortunately) is Pujols’s replacement if he is not re-signed.

    I was also looking at KC’s stock of arms as well. The last time the Cards traded a talented OF whose ‘attitude’ they did not like, Wainwright was the piece that came back. It’s doubtful that you could get both Montgomery in a deal, but a combo of something like Lamb and Kila might be a possibility if the team was set on trading Rasmus.

    I just can’t think if very many players that have ever made it out of TLR’s doghouse. Good mind, but a difficult dude.

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