Rajai Be Stealing and the Impact on A's Lineup
Yesterday afternoon, the Oakland Athletics made it official that they had signed free agent outfielder, Rajai Davis, to a one-year contract. The deal is expected to be around $6 million dollars and comes with a host of incentives such as an additional $100,000 dollars for 500 plate appearances, $150,000 dollars for 550 plate appearances, and $200,000 dollars for 600 plate appearances.
The signing is one that keeps the Oakland Athletics stuck in neutral, a place that they have been for a while now and somewhere where no team wants to find themselves, but does help the team from one standpoint in particular: base stealing.
Based on last year alone, the Athletics came in second to worst above the Baltimore Orioles in bases stolen with a total of 50. Of that amount, 23 base runners were caught stealing which put Oakland 27th in the league.
From an individual standpoint, Rajai Davis ranked fourth in the league last year with 43 stolen bases. In fact, that was the most of any other player in the American League and put him just below league leading stolen base leader, Jonathan Villar of the Milwaukee Brewers along with Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds and Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Therefore, from a base stealing perspective, this deal is a slam dunk and the amount of money that Oakland is paying Davis is also a steal. Besides that factor, Davis also brings more veteran leadership to a clubhouse that is in need of some direction and has experience playing in the postseason during the 2014 ALDS with the Detroit Tigers as well as all of last postseason with the Cleveland Indians. Players with postseason experience is exactly what Oakland needs especially since they have been unsuccessful in their last couple of playoff appearances during the 2013 ALDS against the Tigers and the 2014 AL Wild Card game against the Kansas City Royals.
For now, Oakland has found what it needed to improve it's base stealing and hopefully an ingredient to make them more competitive in an increasingly competitive American League West.