Billy Beane wheelin’ and dealin’ on a Friday night. The Oakland A’s have acquired outfielder Khris Davis from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Bubby Derby, and catcher Jacob Nottingham. In order to clear a spot on the roster for Davis, the A’s also designated left-handed pitcher Sean Nolin for assignment. Nolin was one of the four players who the A’s acquired in the deal for Josh Donaldson with the Blue Jays.
Davis got the attention of Brewers fans in 2013 when he caught fire over the last 31 games of his rookie season, hitting .286 with a .975 OPS, spanning 118 plate appearances. He carried that momentum into 2014 where he hit 22 homers in 144 games, and a career-high 27 home runs in 2015. Davis led all National League left fielders (min. 400 PA) in home runs, was second in slugging percentage (.505), and third in OPS (.828). Depending on how much weight you give defensive metrics like UZR/150, Davis is a below average defensive left fielder. But my guess is that Oakland is willing absorb the hit that they’ll take from his defensive game in order to put some pop in their lineup, without having to pay free agent prices for it. The addition of Davis pushes Coco Crisp out of his spot in left field, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Crisp will get a majority of his at-bats as a DH, and play “some” outfield.
The A’s will have four years of control of Davis, with the 28-year-old becoming eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2017, and won’t reach free agency until 2020.