Buried deep in an article by Nick Cafardo, and keenly noticed by Robert Murray, there are rumors the Red Sox have some level of interest in pursuing Chris Davis this offseason. As Cafardo explains, this would only be feasible (maybe still not reasonable) if the Red Sox were able to deal Hanley Ramirez, who is supposedly their first baseman next season.
I’ve already bemoaned the move of Hanley to first. I’ve already said the Sox should hand the job to Travis Shaw. Then, with this murmur of chasing Crush’s three true outcomes bat, I again take umbrage with the direction the Sox might be heading in at first base.
Without mincing words now, I think that the Red Sox signing Chris Davis would be a bad idea. From my tiny little corner of the Internet, I hope that Dave Dombrowski and Mike Hazen will hear reason and decide to change direction. Here are a few of my thoughts why they shouldn’t even begin drafting a contract offer for Davis.
First of all, I feel like they should’ve already learned how hefty, free-agent signings can burn them. We’re just in the first season of the Pablo Sandoval and Hanley era — which hopefully won’t last too long — and it’s already clearly a disaster. Spending more loads of cash for instant offense just isn’t going to solve the problem. Estimates of six or seven years and $24-26 million annually have already been floated to sign Davis. The average of that possibility means $162.5 million; that’s a crap-ton of Andrew Jacksons.
Put it this way, if Davis hits 30 homers a year over that span, each home run would cost the Sox $0.833 million. Don’t forget, Davis’s agent is Scott Boras, so there will be no holiday price cut. If anything, whoever signs Davis will be paying a higher AAV (Annual Average Value) than listed above.
Next, I’m curious why the Sox would want a three true outcome slugger when that’s not what their offense needs. I mean, the strikeouts alone are enough to make me run for the hills. Over the last four years, Davis has averaged 187.25 strikeouts per season. If you do the rough, non-algebraic math to extrapolate that out over the proposed average deal, that means each K would cost roughly $0.139 million. That’s 7.19 strikeouts per million dollars spent, which is just ridiculous. NEXT!
It seems that if the Sox ink Davis to this deal, they’d be making the oft-made mistake of over-paying for power. Which finally brings me to Travis Shaw…again.
Shaw is younger than Davis (25 years old, opposed to 29). Shaw is vastly cheaper than Davis, and is under club control for the next six years before his turn at free agency. Sure, Shaw is unproven compared to Davis (0.071 percent of the career plate appearances by comparison), but seems to have power that comes not only on the cheap, but is developing as he approaches his peak. Shaw’s 19.08 PA/HR rate is comparable to Davis’s career mark of 17.30 PA/HR, which only helps validate the argument that Shaw’s power is more valuable based on AAV (Shaw currently makes $507,500).
At his current rate, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Shaw could hit 31 HRs over a 600 PA season. Again, with some easy math, that projects to the Sox paying $16,371/HR at his current rate and salary. That’s certainly a huge bargain over Davis.
So, in conclusion, I really hope that all these rumblings that the Sox could pursue Davis are, at best, misdirection on the part of Dombrowski and company. At worst, please gods, it is a dabbling into a market they’ll get priced out of when they realize they’d be investing in getting older, slower, less dynamic, and creating a logjam of ‘potential’ designated hitters.