Perennial 40-home run hitter Khris Davis avoided arbitration with the Athletics on Friday, per an official announcement from the team. This was Davis’ third and last year of arbitration-eligibility. He’ll make $16.5 million in a one-year pact with the club.
The 31-year-old designated hitter is coming off of one of the most productive seasons of his career to date. He finished eighth in AL MVP voting after slashing .247/.326/.549 in 2018 with a league-best 48 home runs, 123 RBI, an .874 OPS and 2.6 fWAR across 654 plate appearances. While there was some chatter about an extension for the hot-hitting Davis, the two sides have plenty of time to work out the particulars of a long-term deal as he’s not scheduled to enter free agency until the conclusion of the 2019 season.
The A’s also agreed to terms with outfielder Mark Canha ($2.05M), left-hander Sean Manaea (terms not available), and shortstops Jurickson Profar ($3.6M) and Marcus Semien ($5.9M) ahead of Friday’s deadline. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, right-handed closer Blake Treinen is expected to go to arbitration with the team.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.