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.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.