Since around 2014/2015 it felt like the Mets were on a collision course with Rajai Davis. Around then he was just a slightly below average hitter, meaning that he was serviceable to run out in the outfield. He played a position the Mets needed and wouldn’t cost a crazy amount of money or a large prospect in a trade, all things the Mets brass would care about. But it never happened. The stars never aligned.
Then he got older which historically is the Mets time to pounce thus Rajai Davis, who will be 38 this season, is in Mets camp. Different than other years: in the Mets more recent history he would be competing for a starting job, he’s here as a depth piece on an NRI competing directly with Gregor Blanco. With that as a set up, having him in camp makes sense.
Before we get into his recent numbers, just some quick transaction history. He was drafted in 2011 by the Pirates int he 38th round and made his debut in 2006. He was traded 2007 to the Giants for Matt Morris and was selected off waivers by the Athletics in 2008. In 2010 he was traded to the Blue Jays for Danny Farquhar and Tyrstan Magnuson and would become a free agent in 2013. He then signed with the Tigers for two seasons (the first time that rumors on Twitter started that the Mets should bet interested in him. Since then signed with the Indians, then the Athletics (again) who traded him (again) this time to the Red Sox for Rafael Rincones. Then he signed with the Indians (again) before becoming a Met!
2017 Oakland: 328 PA, .233/.294/.353, 71 DRC+
2018 Cleveland: 216 PA, .224/.278/.281, 69 DRC+
Career: .262/.311/.379, 85 DRC+
If Rajai Davis was still hitting close to his career line, he would be competing for a starting job somewhere. His OBP has been declining since 2014 and his DRC+ has declined from 94 in in 2015 down to 69 last year, a number he has posted 3 times in his career (although not his worse). If he sees significant time in the majors this year his numbers will be close to his numbers the last two seasons.
Here’s why the Rajai Davis signing is good though. If he stays with the team, would you rather in case of an emergency the Mets pull up a random player like they had two last year (Jack Reinheimer/Kevin Kaczmarksi/Phil Evans) if they are still in contention? I would feel better in this case with Davis or Blanco on the bench (I mean, ideally I would feel better if this wasn’t a scenario we always had to plan for but it is the Mets).
As stated earlier, he’ll be in direct competition with Gregor Blanco. Let’s see what happens!