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Indians sign Rajai Davis to minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Rajai Davis has reunited with the Indians, per a team announcement on Saturday. Davis has agreed to a minor league contract and is attending camp on a non-roster invite.

Davis is only two years removed from his last gig with the Indians, when he helped fuel the team’s pennant chase in 2016. He split his 2017 campaign with the Athletics and Red Sox, but wasn’t able to replicate the numbers that made his performance so memorable in Cleveland. The 37-year-old outfielder slashed a combined .235/.293/.348 with five home runs and 29 stolen bases in 366 plate appearances for the two clubs.

The Indians already have an established outfield trio with Michael Brantley, Bradley Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall, though Brantley’s ankle injuries may keep him out of the lineup for the next several weeks. Corner outfielder Brandon Guyer is also currently sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left wrist. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that Jason Kipnis is in line to slot in for Brantley, while Davis and fellow non-roster invitee Melvin Upton Jr. are expected to provide backup and platoon options in the outfield if they can’t secure full-time roles.

Braves promote Alex Anthopoulos, extend Brian Snitker

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The Atlanta Braves announced this morning that they have promoted general manager Alex Anthopoulos to President, Baseball Operations and General Manager and have extended his contract through 2024. They have likewise extended the contracts of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff through the 2021 season.

Anthopoulos’ promotion will not likely change his duties very much, as it’s become increasingly common for top baseball operations executives to be given the title of “president” as opposed to “GM.” Part of this is some expansion of the role of said executives. Some of it is simple title inflation. Some of it is to prevent other teams from being able to interview and potentially poach top executives without permission under the guise of promotion.

Anthopoulos was hired following the 2017 season, replacing former GM John Coppolella, who resigned and was subsequently permanently banned from baseball following his involvement in a scandal in which he breached rules in connection with signings of international players and obstructed Major League Baseball’s investigation into it all. Before that Antopoulos served as the Blue Jays’ GM for seven years.

Snitker took over as interim manager when the Braves fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of the 2016 season. He and Coppolella did not get along and there were strong suggestions that he would never lose the interim tag, but he has been on far steadier ground since Anthopoulos took over. Winning helps, of course, and under the leadership of Anthopoulos and Snitker, the Braves have won the last two NL East titles, going 187-137 in the past two seasons.