Oakland Trade Rumors A: Interest in New York Mets’ JD Davis?
The Oakland A’s are expected to have a busy offseason. Half the roster has already left via free agency, and more stars are likely to follow in the trades.
While we wait to hear who else might be leaving town, one name has emerged as a potential acquisition target for Oakland.
New York Mets third baseman JD Davis is attracting interest in the league, and the A’s are one of many teams that watched him before the lockout, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Davis’ idea of the trading bloc makes sense. The Mets signed a few big sticks before the lockout, including former outfielders from A Marc Canha and Starling Marte as well as All-Star third baseman Eduardo Escobarand they also come back Robinson Cano suspension. Davis mostly played 3B and LF in New York, and even he thinks it’s more likely (“60/40”) he’ll be traded than kept by his club, Puma reports, even if the National League adds a hitter appointed this year.
The question then becomes whether Davis makes sense for the A’s and whether there is a trade game between the two teams.
Let’s start with a quick look at the player. Davis has spent the past three seasons as a quality right-handed hitter for the Mets, with consistently strong basic skills. Even without monster totals, he racked up an impressive 130 wRC+ in that span. Last summer he missed a lot of injury time to his hand and wrist, but still posted an above-average line in 73 games, despite declining power and increasing strikeouts.
- Davis, 2021: 0.285/0.384/0.436, 130wRC+, 5HR, 11.4% BB, 32.2% Ks
On the other side of the ball, he gets poor defensive ratings at both 3B and LF. He makes up for it with his bat, getting positive WAR ratings every year in New York, but his roster is negative.
Add that up and you have a first bat player that impacts home plate but needs to be hidden in a corner/DH on defense. He’ll be playing at 29 this season, so he’s still in his prime, and he’s a low buy potential after an injury-plagued off-year. As it stands, he’s already productive, and there’s obviously room for better health – after all, he hit 22 homers in 2019, and his career strikeout rate was just 23. .4% last year.
Contract-wise, Davis still has three years of team control remaining. He won $2.1 million last year in Super Two arbitration, and will only receive a modest raise this winter (MLBTR Projects $2.7 million), before moving on to another two years of arbitrage in 2023 and 2024. It’s financially affordable for A’s, but cheap long-term control will increase its business value.
Oakland’s roster should leave plenty of room for a player of Davis’ profile. Their outfield is already wide open, as is their DH role, and their infield corner spots could also be freed up soon, depending on whether the third baseman Matt Chapman and/or first baseman Matt Olson get exchanged. Take your pick on where to position him in order to get his mighty bat in order.
So how much would it cost? The Mets would not need the Matts, since the goal of this exercise is to eliminate their excess hitters. Their rotation is already full (Scherzer, deGrom, Carrasco, Walker, Megill), but we never have enough pitching, so let’s give it a try.
Baseball Business Values has Davis’ stock significantly lower than the star trio of Oakland starters. It’s a notch below a year’s Chris Bassit Where Sean Maneeand far from two years of Frankie Montas. On the other hand, in the bullpen, Lou Trivino wouldn’t be enough to start a conversation.
Presumably, the A’s aren’t looking to spend prospects as they embark on a rebuild, or part ways with long-term MLB players like James Kaprielian Where cole irvin. They are also not in a financial position to accept a bad contract in order to reduce Davis’ trading costs. Therefore, a deal should most likely revolve around one of Bassitt or Manaea going to New York, with the A’s getting Davis plus a solid second piece.
For the Mets, it would be another winning splash now to make their star-studded rotation even more absurd, while adding incredible depth to the group. They might instead opt for a prospect package from someone, but maybe everything is the best plan at this point?
For the A’s, that would mean more of a retool than a full rebuild, using a major trade chip to improve the current MLB roster rather than prioritizing maximum prospect value. But with that in mind, Davis represents an attractive bet with a clear advantage and an easy fit both on the roster and on the salary bill. He can help them earn now but also be part of the next nucleus if all goes well, and do it with a salary that they cannot find on the open market.
Does Davis make sense as a target for the A’s, and would you do it in that type of deal for one of their star pitchers? Can either team (or both) do better? Let’s discuss it in the comments, but first some original notes to consider.
We’ve seen Oakland acquire a right-hander named Davis before. They bought low Chris Davis before 2016, and he became a star. Khris and JD are unrelated and are completely different hitters, almost literally opposites in skill, but they’re equally productive at their best. Wouldn’t it be a kick to see the club start their new core with another Davis anchoring the roster?
Likewise, JD has already been traded once in his career. He was originally drafted by Houston, but in 2019 the Astros sent him to the Mets for a few prospects, one of which was Scott Manea. Wouldn’t it be something if his next trade was for Sean Manaea, who has the same last name but with more A’s?
Maybe the stars or the alignment. Or not. Of course, it’s fun to talk about baseball again!