Rajai Davis is the Perfect Left Field Option for the OriolesPosted on December 04, 2013 by Dillon Atkinson
The Orioles have been exploring options for a left fielder this offseason, and nothing has came close. They've reportedly shown interest in Beltran, but there's no way they give him the money and length he wants. Nelson Cruz has also been brought up, but a lot of money and a draft pick would have to be given up for him. Cruz could still be an option after Jim Johnson was traded to the Athletics, thus freeing up $10M of spending money. It doesn't seem "Orioles-like" to go spend big bucks on Cruz, though.
So let's do this the Oriole Way.
The Orioles need a left fielder, designated hitter, starting pitcher, and possibly another bullpen arm. After knowing that, you have to figure they want to go cheap with the left fielder, at least. You know who fits the category perfectly? That guy pictured above. His name is Rajai Davis.
Davis provides great defense, blazing speed, and a good bat, more-so against left-handed pitching. In his recent three-year tenure with the Blue Jays, Davis stole 125 bases out of 155 attempts, averaging about 41 to 42 stolen bases per year. Another big part of the speedy outfielders game is bunting, which lacks throughout the Orioles lineup. He can put the ball on the third base line and beat it out anytime he wants to. He's more of a singles hitter, but that's not a problem with his ability and aggressiveness to swipe bases and put himself into scoring position. He's a good leadoff hitter, as he had a .304 average hitting in the one spot this past season.
If there is any negative to the eight-year veteran outfielder, it's that he's best suited in a platoon role. In 2013, he batted a low .228 against right-handed pitchers, while posting a great .319 against southpaws.
If needed to platoon, Orioles could turn to Henry Urrutia against right handers, then bring in Davis later in the game for defense or as a pinch-runner. Case solved.
Orioles free agent outfielder Nate McLouth is expecting a multi-year deal that would give him at least $5M per year. That is outrageous for a platoon outfielder. Rajai Davis made $2.5M in 2013, and could stay in that range for 2014.
If I'm Dan Duquette, I offer Davis a one-year, $3M deal with a vesting option for 2015. He's an electric player that could be a good presence at the top of the order.
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