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?