Oakland Athletics sign former Giants' infielder JD Davis

The Oakland Athletics have signed JD Davis to a major league contract

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics have signed former Giants infielder JD Davis to a major league contract, according to Robert Murray of FanSided. It's a one year deal worth $2.5 million, with an additional $1 million in incentives.

The signing basically solves the opening the Athletics have at third base. The hot corner has primarily been occupied this spring by Abraham Toro, though an assortment of other players have gotten starts there.

Jordan Diaz, who has spent the last two years between Triple-A and the majors in the Athletics system, was sent back to the minors just this past week. He was thought to be a candidate to start the year in Oakland but the front office decided otherwise.

Davis should theoretically slot into the middle of the A's lineup for 2024. He's been a strong hitter over the course of his career, though his playing time has been limited both due to injury and serving as a utility man with the Mets.

He was traded during the summer of 2022 from New York to San Francisco, and has spent the last year and a half as the primary third baseman for the Giants. However, the Giants signed free agent Matt Chapman last week, limiting Davis' utility.

The Giants apparently couldn't find a trade partner and as a result, ended up placing Davis on outright waivers. The move saved them nearly $6 million in salary for 2024 due to a unique clause in the CBA that allows teams to cut players who come to terms in salary arbitration with little penalty.

Davis comes to Oakland with 7 years of major league experience. He's a career .261/.343/.432 hitter who strikes out a bit too much, but also provides decent power and can draw walks. If there's a downside, it's that Davis is not a great defender.

According to Statcast data, he's posted a cumulative -13 Outs Above Average over his career. His mark of +4 last year was a career high, though also an aberration. It's the only time in his career that he's posted a positive number.

At this stage, Davis can probably give the A's passable defense at third while also providing the ability to fill in at first base if Ryan Noda needs a day off. It's been a while but he also has experience in left field, though he has just 2 starts in the outfield since 2020.

There's a little bit of collapse risk in the profile, as he's about to turn 31. Despite that, it's hard to see this as anything but a smart decision from the A's front office.

The A's have a clear need for more offensive production and Davis should be able to help in that regard. At a maximum price of $3.5 million, it's well worth rolling the dice to see if Davis can give this team a boost.