Last week, during a season ticket holder Q&A at Angels stadium, Halos GM Billy Eppler let loose a little offhanded comment about the state of left field for the Angels going forward in 2017. To paraphrase, he said they had their eye on a speedy free agent but that was all Eppler was willing to divulge.
There are a handful of guys that Eppler could have been talking about, but one in particular stood out to me: Rajai Davis. Davis is currently with the Indians, who are fighting for a championship, he’s set to be a free agent come this winter, and he plays the right position. Do we have a match?
Maybe it’s just the fact that he’s on my TV screen during this highly-anticipated World Series, and thus I have Rajai Davis on my mind, but when we look closer, it seems like he may be the mystery player that Eppler has his eye on. Would he be a great fit for the Angels? Well, at the very least, he’d be an upgrade...but then again, who wouldn’t be?
Davis is coming off a season in which he led the AL in steals (43) and had an OPS of .693 and 0.4 bWAR. The speed is there, and fits the buzzword given by Billy Eppler; that type of prowess and skill on the basepaths would be a godsend to the Angels, but then again, it’d be up to Mike Scioscia to utilize him in such a way. So that’s a plus.
His batting isn’t anything to get excited about, unfortunately, and his glove is less than stellar, to put it kindly. He’s often been the wink link in some of the outfields he’s been a part of in the past, defense-wise, but he has worked in the past two seasons to improve in that arena.
Another knock would be his age, as Davis is 36 years old, but if you’re the cynical, sardonic type of Halos fan, this would just solidify your opinion that the Angels are going to sign him: he’s over the hill, he’s got a so-so glove, and his bat isn’t special. But he’s cheap! And that’s been the early hallmark of the Eppler front office reign: get the most out of what you can, while spending as little as possible.
Could I see a 2017 Angels team with Rajai Davis in the lineup? 100%. Will that lineup lead to success, moreso than, let’s say, a Jefry Marte-in-LF would? My intuition says “probably not”, but we still have a game or two left to watch Davis play ball this year and if he helps Cleveland get to a World Series title, you can bet that’s only going to make him look even more viable a candidate than before, in the trophy-hungry eyes of Arte Moreno’s Angels.