Chris Davis thinks the Rangers will probably trade him

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The Rangers are going to start Mitch Moreland at first base in most of their games this season. He posted a decent .833 OPS, nine home runs and 25 RBI over 173 plate appearances last year and played pretty strong defense.

On days that Moreland doesn’t start, it’ll be either Michael Young or Mike Napoli manning the first base bag. Adrian Beltre, of course, will be covering third.

So, where does that leave 24-year-old infielder Chris Davis? A new team, maybe.

According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, David said Sunday in Rangers camp that he has come to terms with the fact that he might be traded this spring or at some point this summer.

“I have to come to terms with it,” said Davis. “I might not be with the Rangers my whole career or even this season. I understand that people look at me as a guy who has had some success and then struggled, that I might be a guy who they would view as being a ‘change of scenery,’ candidate. I want to be here. But if they move me, I don’t know that it would be a bad thing.”

Davis, 25 in March, has posted really good numbers in the minor leagues. Last season, he hit 14 home runs with a .903 OPS and 80 RBI in 444 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. In 2008, he slugged 23 homers in 77 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

The talent is there, but he’s never been able to put it all together in the big leagues. Maybe that would change in another uniform. He can play both corner infield spots and he is not even eligible for salary arbitration yet. The Rangers should find a good amount of trade interest if they really want to put him out on the market.

Kevin Kiermaier on Rays’ recent moves: “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset.”

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On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”

Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.

The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.

When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.