SURPRISE, Ariz. – With all due respect, Chris Davis has a simple request for the Rangers’ front office.
Find room for him in the big leagues or trade him to a team that could use him.
“I just want to be in the big leagues, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” Davis said. “In all fairness, I’ve done everything the Rangers have asked me to do. I’ve been a good sport about it. I’ve had a smile on my face and a good attitude about it. When it comes down to it, the fair thing to do is to give me a shot either here or somewhere else.”
Davis is realistic enough to know that baseball isn’t always fair. He understands that his chances to make the Rangers’ Opening Day roster are slim. He knew that after the Rangers, who are committed to Mitch Moreland at first base, acquired third baseman Adrian Beltre and first baseman/DH/catcher Mike Napoli in their two biggest moves of the offseason. He accepts that he might have to start the season in Triple-A.
But Davis, who turns 25 on Thursday, is definitely holding up his end of the bargain. He’s having an outstanding spring, hitting .387 with a .742 slugging percentage while proving that he’s great with the glove at third base as well as first base.
“I’m fighting for a job, whether it’s with this team or another organization,” Davis said. “My job every day is to go out there and open a pair of eyes and make somebody say, ‘Hey, maybe we could use Chris Davis on our team.’ I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of that lately.”
It wasn’t long ago that Davis was considered the Rangers’ first baseman of the future. This is a guy who hit .285 with 17 homers and 55 RBI in 80 games as a rookie in 2008.
However, Davis has mostly struggled in the big leagues since then, getting sent down to Triple-A as starting the last two seasons as the Rangers’ everyday first baseman. His numbers in the majors over the last two seasons – a .227 average with 22 homers, 63 RBI and 190 strikeouts – aren’t pretty. He didn’t last a month in the majors before being demoted last year.
Davis, who has consistently torn up Triple-A pitching, has made some minor adjustments this spring. He said he’s gone back to some of his old hitting mechanics, specifically standing taller at the plate, which allows him to see the ball better.
“He’s proven that he’s continuing to get better,” manager Ron Washington said. “That’s what it’s all about. As far as deserving a spot, I don’t make that decision; the players make that decision.”
Jon Daniels and the Rangers’ front office will ultimately make the decision on whether to deal Davis, who has sparked the interest of other teams.
Daniels’ job is to make the Rangers better, not do the right thing for guys like Davis. If the Rangers get the right offer, we might see Davis in an Opening Day lineup elsewhere. If not, he’ll probably be one of Triple-A’s best players again.