A’s fill center field by signing Rajai Davis

From near World Series hero to a Oakland return, the Athletics have filled massive vacancies in both center field and the lead-off spot by signing Rajai Davis on Tuesday.

Fresh off an American League Pennant run with Cleveland, Davis has returned to the A’s after agreeing a one-year pact.

Davis, who last donned the green and gold in 2010, is coming off the most productive offensive seasons of his career, finishing with career highs in home runs (12), runs scored (74) and walks (33). At 35, the Connecticut native became the oldest player to lead the league in stolen bases (43) since fellow former Athletic Rickey Henderson, 39, accomplished the feat in 1998 with 66 stolen base.

The 11-year vet was on the field when the 2016 season came to an end. After launching a one-out, two-run, game-tying home run off All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning, Davis came through in the clutch again collecting an RBI single in the tenth. His heroics were for naught, however, as the American League’s last three RBIs of 2016 were one short of claiming the crown.

He became an every-day big leaguer in his previous stint with the A’s, from 2008 through 2010. During that stretch, Davis posted career highs with a .305 average in 2009 as well as 149 hits and 50 stolen bases in 2010. Overall, he batted .287 with 60 doubles, 12 triples and 119 RBIs in 369 games over the stretch.

After signing Matt Joyce on Nov. 30 it appears the A’s have filled their most obvious needs — building a major league outfield. Joyce, who slashed .242/.403/.463 in 2016, will join Khris Davis who is coming off a breakout season in Oakland, in which he slugged 42 home runs and drove in 102 runs.

To make roster space for Davis, the A’s designated Max Muncy for assignment. In 51 games with Oakland in 2016 Muncy batted .186 with two home runs and eight RBIs.


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.