John Hickey’s latest story in the Mercury-News reports that new Oakland Athletics first baseman Ike Davis was still suffering from some effects of valley fever last year. A disease he first contracted in 2012:
“Valley fever is a nightmare,” said Davis, who turns 28 in March. “You have no energy, no nothing. It was definitely a weird one. It’s supposed to go away on its own, but when I had an X-ray last year, it showed I still had it. I’m hoping that’s over and done with.”
At various points Davis has said that the was asymptomatic, such as in this March 2012 story, but then it came back strong in early 2013 and many attribute it to his struggles that season. And, apparently, last season as well.
The central question surrounding Davis for the past several years was whether he can ever be the player he suggested he’d become after his 2011 and 2012 seasons. If, as Davis says, his valley fever has persisted like this, it would go a long way toward explaining why the past two years have been so rough for him.
From Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish comes word that the Athletics have avoided arbitration with first baseman Ike Davis by agreeing to a one-year, $3.8 million contract for the 2015 season.
Davis was designated for assignment by the Pirates on November 20 and then picked up by the A’s a few days later in exchange for international slot money.
The 27-year-old batted just .233/.344/.378 with 11 home runs in 143 games this past season between the Mets and Bucs, but he has good career numbers against right-handed pitching and Oakland is among the best at taking advantage of platoon splits.
The A’s also avoided arbitration on Tuesday evening with reliever Fernando Rodriguez for $635,000, according to MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes. They non-tendered Andrew Brown and Kyle Blanks.
Billy Beane says the Athletics aren’t likely to fill their void at shortstop via free agency, reports CSN California’s Joe Stiglich. Jed Lowrie is likely headed elsewhere, and the shortstop market isn’t too appealing as Stephen Drew and Asdrubal Cabrera are the most appealing options at the moment.
Lowrie did a decent job in his two seasons with the A’s, batting .271/.334/.405 while accruing 3.1 Wins Above Replacement over 1,228 plate appearances. If the Athletics aren’t keen on Drew or Cabrera, they would likely have to address the position via another trade. Beane has already been quite active early on in the off-season, having traded Josh Donaldson while adding Ike Davis and Billy Butler.
Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick doesn’t understand why the Athletics decided to trade third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. Via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Reddick is correct, of course. Via FanGraphs, the 14.1 WAR Donaldson compiled since the start of the 2013 season vastly eclipses anyone else on the Athletics. Jed Lowrie comes in second at 5.4 and Reddick is third at 5.0. Donaldson gets the business aspect of the game, which ultimately led to his being traded:
Reddick said that it’s clear to him and his teammates that the Athletics are rebuilding. This is par for the course for the Athletics, however. So far this off-season, they’ve signed Billy Butler and Ike Davis, and now they’ve traded away Donaldson. They’re expected to pursue more trades, particularly one involving Brandon Moss. The team we saw barely lose the American League Wild Card game to the Royals could look a lot different when pitchers and catchers report in February.
Yesterday, we learned that the Marlins were considering Evan Gattis and Chris Davis as trade options for an upgrade at first base. You can add Brandon Moss of the Athletics to the list, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, as well as Allen Craig of the Red Sox (via Clark Herald of the Miami Herald).
The Marlins got below-average production out of Garrett Jones this past season, as he batted .246/.309/.411 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI in 547 plate appearances. The average slash line for a first baseman in the National League was .257/.330/.430.
With the Athletics having added Ike Davis and Billy Butler already, Moss has become expendable despite another productive year in Oakland. He hit .234/.334/.438 with 25 home runs and 81 RBI.
Craig joined the Red Sox at the trade deadline along with Joe Kelly in the trade that sent John Lackey to the Cardinals. He had a miserable year, posting an aggregate .215/.279/.315 line with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 505 plate appearances.