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A few thoughts on the Elvis/Davis trade

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Offering up a couple of thoughts on the deal that went down today

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

So, yeah, Elvis Andrus was traded today to the Oakland A’s, and the Texas Rangers got Khris Davis back as the major league name everyone knows about, along with catcher Jonah Heim and pitcher Dane Acker. Catcher Aramis Garcia went to the A’s in this deal as well.

Having had a little time to digest and absorb what is being said, I wanted to offer up a few more thoughts.

I said initially I thought Khris Davis was likely being designated for assignment imminently, the way the Rangers DFA’d Austin Jackson, whose contract they took on to get Jason Bahr, a couple of years ago. But that’s apparently not happening. Jon Daniels didn’t exactly give Davis a ringing endorsement today, or guarantee him a roster spot, but he did indicate that they expected to bring him to camp and have him compete for a job. He made a point of differentiating this from the Jackson trade, saying the team wasn’t intending to immediately jettison Davis.

Now, that may be a smokescreen, an effort to get a team that is interested in Davis to go ahead and move now rather than just waiting with the assumption he’ll be released shortly and become a free agent. Or the Rangers may end up designating him for assignment in the next couple of weeks when they need a roster spot and say, well, nevermind, we decided to move on anyway. But it sounds like he’ll at least be in camp.

My guess is that Texas will give him an opportunity to show that last year — when he hit .200/.303/.329 in 99 plate appearances, with 2 home runs — was an aberration. Davis did hit three home runs in 25 plate appearances in the playoffs, so that’s a positive...but he also struck out 10 times and didn’t walk, so, who knows. And Davis wasn’t good in 2019, either, slashing .220/.293/.387.

And the Rangers will need a roster spot for Mike Foltynewicz soon, and maybe another 40 man spot for a third baseman, though Brock Burke could be stashed on the 60 day injured list at the start of camp to create a spot, since he likely will be taking things slow at the start of camp and can go on a 30 day rehab assignment then in late April. So maybe Davis doesn’t make it through camp.

But it sounds like Texas will let him come out to Surprise, see if he can mash some lefties, see if MLB decides at the 11th hour to adopt the universal DH again (which would make National League teams a potential destination for Davis), and see if some team will take him off their hands and give them a fringe prospect or take on some of his salary. I’d be surprised if Davis actually ever has an official regular season at bat for the Rangers, simply because they aren’t exactly hurting for possible DH candidates, and even if they decided they wanted a righthanded hitting platoon DH, they would probably go find someone who is on a minor league deal and has an opt out somewhere that they could sign, or claim someone on the waiver wire, rather than give at bats to Davis.

Meanwhile, there appears to be enthusiasm for Jonah Heim, who is a big switch hitting catcher. Someone noted that big guys, catchers, and switch hitters all seem to take longer to develop, and Heim checks all three boxes, so there’s some thought there’s more potentially in there to come. He appears to have the inside track to share catching duties with Jose Trevino to start the season (sorry, all you Drew Butera fans), while Sam Huff starts the year either in Frisco or Round Rock.

Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline had Heim #9 on their Oakland A’s prospect lists before the trade. It does not appear that MLB Pipeline has updated the Rangers list, but I’d guess Heim shows up somewhere in the 15-20 range for Texas, based on the grade Pipeline has on him.

Dane Acker would seem slated to go pitch for one of the A ball teams to start the season, and he’s one of those guys who could move quickly, or who could never strike out more than 6.5 guys per 9 in A ball and end up topping out as a swingman for Frisco. Who knows.

Texas is apparently going to go find a third baseman of some sort in the next couple of weeks, with Evan Grant mentioning Jake Lamb and Brock Holt as the likely candidates, guys who can come in and collect a paycheck and hopefully not embarrass themselves (these aren’t the Matt Kata Rangers anymore, after all) for the time being while Waiting for Josh Jung. Maybe Rougned Odor gets some time over at third base, as well, though I am not sure if the arm plays there, and realistically, as I’ve mentioned before, if he’s not your starting second baseman, Rougned Odor doesn’t really have a spot on a team, since he doesn’t have the positional versatility you’d need for him to have any value off the bench.