Dirks’ Surgery Opens Door For Rajai Davis
Tigers projected Left Fielder, Andy Dirks, will miss 3 months due to undergoing microdiscectomy surgery. This happens to be the same surgery that Red Wings’ star, Henrik Zetterberg, recently experienced. (I find it very telling that Dirks’ recovery is expected to be 3 months, yet the Red Wings’ brass contends that Z will be back for the playoffs. Not going to happen) So, with Dirks sidelined until at least May, who will take his place?
Enter, Rajai Davis
The Tigers signed Rajai Davis, who played the previous three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, to a 2-year 10 million dollar contract. Dirks’ injury is bad news for Detroit, coming off the heals of a return to the shin woes of Jose Iglesias. On the bright side, it allows the Tigers to give Rajai Davis the opportunity to prove his worth as an every day player, which he was in each season in Toronto.
Davis’ stats show a clear preference for left-handed pitching. His overall numbers aren’t terrible, but his .319/.383/.474 against lefties, coupled with his speed and base stealing adeptness were certainly traits that caught Detroit’s interest.
As you can see from his 2013 stats, his ideal placement in the batting order would be versus LHP, but his speed in the field, and above average defensive skills make him a viable start. Not bad for a backup.
As Mick said, “Speed is what we need.”
The philosophy of the 2014 Tigers’ offense has shifted from one of power hitters, to contact hitting and speed on the basepaths. Every indication so far, has led to a more aggressive base-stealing team. With that in mind, wouldn’t a multi 40 base stealing guy fit into the mix? For the past 5 seasons, Davis has swiped at least 40 bags in 4 of them, while grabbing 50 in 2010. Did you know that in 2013, Davis stole 10 more bases than the entire Detroit Tigers team?
Dombrowski and Ausmus failed to mention Davis when responding to MLive…
We have Don Kelly, we have (Ezequiel Carrera), (Trevor) Crowe is here,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll play it internally and see how it all comes together.”
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said utility player Steve Lombardozzi will also see playing time in left field. “
Despite the apparent snub, the obvious choice to take over for Dirks, is Davis. Look for Rajai to leadoff against lefties. He’s hit .300, with a .383 OBP vs LHP over the last 3 years. Ideally, he would platoon, but there is nobody else. DD mentioned Don Kelly and Trevor Crowe…really? These guys barely hit .220. Davis’ skills are above any other “internal” prospective replacement, splits aside, and he will begin the year as Detroit’s starting Left Fielder.
What do you think?
Who will start in Left Field for the Tigers?
Will Rajai Davis leadoff vs. LHP, vs anyone, or never?
Share your thoughts!