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  • Rajai Davis and the Twins Outfield Depth

    Late on Monday night, rumors began circulating (originating from friend of Twins Daily, Darren Wolfson) that the Minnesota Twins are interested in outfielder Rajai Davis, maybe even willing to go to two years with him.

    Immediately I had some thoughts on the idea of Davis with the Twins and what he might be able to do for the organization. My first thought is always: What does it mean for the Twins' outfield depth? (Note - Ben Nicholson-Smith says "industry sources" indicate the Detroit Tigers may be the favorite for Davis at this time.)

    So, I thought I'd take a look at the Twins outfield situation.

    First though, let's take a look at Rajai Davis. He is a player I have always liked because of his speed. His yearly stolen base totals in the big leagues going back to 2008 are: 29, 41, 50, 34, 46, 45. He has spent the last three seasons with the Blue Jays and has hit .252/.299/.369 with 61 doubles, 11 triples and 15 home runs. He was their regular centerfielder in 2011, but the last two years, since Colby Rasmus came over to the Jays, he has played the two corner outfield spots. With the Twins, he could potentially start in center or left field. Before Toronto, Davis played for Oakland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

    He will be 33 years old through the 2014 season, and his game is about speed. I like him as a fourth outfielder and as a guy who can compete with Alex Presley and Aaron Hicks for the starting centerfield job. Ideally, he is a fourth outfielder on a good team, but he can also be a placeholder for Byron Buxton.

    With that said, here is a brief look at the Twins outfield situation:

    Josh Willingham - He is likely to begin the season as the team's left fielder. Though his best defensive position is designated hitter, he has more trade value if he proves healthy and can play defense; it would make him a possible trade target for National League teams. He had a down year last season, likely largely due to injuries, but we know he's got the ability to hit the ball out of the park.

    Alex Presley - Acquired last August in the Justin Morneau deal, Presley played adequately over the final month. He will compete for the starting centerfield job in spring training and if he isn't starting he is a solid fourth or fifth outfield option.

    Aaron Hicks - Handed the starting centerfield job out of spring training a year ago, he had a very difficult transition in his jump from AA to the big leagues. But the potential is still there, and he likely learned a ton from 2013. Hopefully he can make some adjustments and at some point in 2014, he could come up for good.

    Oswaldo Arcia - Having played center field and right field in the minors, the Twins called up Arcia and had him play a lot of left field. His defense was in Willingham's category out there. My belief is he can be an adequate, maybe average, defensive right fielder. The man can flat-out hit and has a ton of power. I wouldn't trade him, but in a trade he could bring back something big!

    Chris Parmelee - Started a lot of games in right field a year ago and impressed with his glove and a generally accurate arm. The bat didn't come around with any consistency in 2013, but he does still have potential. He is also out of options. With Joe Mauer moving to first base, left or right field will become important to Parmelee's playing time.

    Chris Colabello - See Chris Parmelee. Colabello dominated AAA a year ago, but he struggled with the Twins. He had played very little outfield in his career before playing some right field with the Twins.

    Darin Mastroianni - He was hurt throughout the 2013 season. Even when he came back, he struggled and clearly was not at 100%, Speed is his game. He can play all three outfield spots. He is a candidate to be DFA'ed if the Twins sign Davis.

    Byron Buxton - Baseball's #1 prospect will likely be invited to big league spring training. It is possible he surfaces with the Twins in the season's second half and never looks back.

    Eddie Rosario - He has played second base most of the last two years, but with the emergence of Brian Dozier at second base, it appears the Twins are looking to move Rosario back to the outfield. Honestly, that's where he should be. He is a natural, gifted outfielder with a very strong arm. His bat may not have huge home run power, but he can hit, uses the whole field and hits a lot of doubles. That potential/rumored 50 game suspension certainly hurts his chances of debuting in 2014.

    I would not be against the signing of Rajai Davis by the Twins. Of course, that depends on the years and the money. A one year, $2-3 million deal makes sense. A two year, $4-5 million deal makes sense. Anything beyond that doesn't make sense. It's all part of the picture.

    The beauty of the week of Winter Meetings is that rumors are abundant. How many are true? Some. With each rumor it's nice to be able to go through an exercise like this, looking at those currently on the roster and those in the near-future plans, to see what makes sense. To me, a 2015 outfield of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Aaron Hicks, with Oswaldo Arcia as the DH and Rajai Davis or Alex Presley as the fourth outfielder looks and sounds pretty good.

    So, what are your thoughts? Should the Twins be interested in or sign Rajai Davis? What does it mean for the future?
    Comments 50 Comments
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Raj was the 2nd most valuable player on the basepaths. Thats a market inefficiancy the Twins like to capitalize on. ( go back and review my posts on how the twins like to construct their rosters) I think the Tigers jumped in on this to prevent the Twins from getting him. If the Twins improve too much they could become a threat to the Tigers...ok maybe not next year but soon.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Also Raj was 1.8 WAR isn't the market value around 5million per WAR making Raj a 9 million per at WAR market evaluations?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      Raj was the 2nd most valuable player on the basepaths. Thats a market inefficiancy the Twins like to capitalize on..
      The only thing is that perceived "value on basepaths" is based on SBs and SBs are situation (hard to steel with 2 outs) and manager (some like to run more than others) dependent... SBs are like RBIs in my book. Hard to use to determine value.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      First, it's really, really sad when you're constantly cheering against your GM's rumored moves. Second, Bonnes, my friend, stop with the "money to burn" thing. All money matters. Just because there is money to spend doesn't mean it doesn't hurt you to spend it unwisely. There are future considerations with every dollar committed.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Tigers got him...$5 per year, 2 years.

    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      The key is platoon. You put Dirks and Davis together in a platoon and you have a decent outfielder. However, it makes no sense to sign platoon type players when the manager doesn't do that.
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinscowboysbulls View Post
      BTW, I'd love to trade for Span, I believe his value is incredibly lower than last year.
      Shows who won that trade. Would you deal Meyer for Span now? A: No
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I would have been good with 2 years, $5M... it's a little high 2 years, $10M... in my opinion.
    1. twinsfaninsaudi's Avatar
      twinsfaninsaudi -
      TR driving the price up on the Big Cats. I like it.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      Today I learned that Jim Thome was a pitcher.

      Also, look at the dates in the post you're quoting. What happened in 2008 isn't relevant to solidifying the 40-man for 2015.
      1) I missed the post where someone said, hinted or implied that Thome was a pitcher.

      2 a) Past is Prologue. What happened in 2008 has relevant predictive value to how an organization operates in the future- it's indisputable that the Twins have a history of selling low/driving down value/giving talent away for nothing. Hopefully, the implications of these out of nowhere FA signings means that personnel value is being reassessed- and so these last 3 years of laughingstock status has shocked the stale Twins culture to its very core- for the better.

      2 b) The Twins interest in Rajai Davis shows they learned from last year's fiasco assessment of the true value of their available OF talent- Good for TR to be proactive on that front, there are still other options available for acquisition.
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