On Tuesday, though the Boston Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians by a score of 9-1, the American League East leaders suffered a significant loss. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. sprained his thumb sliding into home, and today landed on the 10-day disabled list. Bradley is perhaps the best defensive outfielder in the game, and is in the midst of a strong year at the plate. He’s hitting .264, and owns 14 home runs.
Third baseman Deven Marrero was called up to take his place on the roster, but that was just a temporary measure. Not long after the first pitch in Wednesday’s game against the Indians, Boston acquired veteran outfielder Rajai Davis from the Oakland A’s in exchange for minor league outfielder Rafael Rincones. Outfielder Steve Selsky was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Red Sox Acquire Rajai Davis in Response to Bradley Jr. Injury
Davis, 36, owns a .233/.294/.353 slash line this season with Oakland. He’s a career .264 hitter, but has seen a steady decline in his batting average since 2014. Davis made his Major League debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and has since played for five other teams, including the A’s. The Red Sox will be his seventh team overall.
While Davis doesn’t offer much at the plate, he does become a serious weapon once he gets on base. Speed has always been his calling card; Davis has stolen 40 or more bases five times in his career, and swiped 50 in 2010 during his first stint with Oakland. While it’s unlikely he’ll ever put up that kind of gaudy figure again, he nevertheless remains a threat. He has 26 steals in 100 games this season, putting him automatically in the team lead for the Red Sox. Mookie Betts, who previously led with 18, is now in second.
Boston ranks seventh in baseball in total steals, with 78, but also leads the AL in outs on bases. A smart, savvy runner like Davis should help that issue, while also making the Red Sox more dangerous on the basepaths. A battle-tested veteran, Davis plays the field well and represents solid depth once Bradley Jr. returns. That alone holds immense value as the season wanes and the playoffs approach.
Heading to the Bay
Rincones, 17, has spent parts of two seasons playing in the Red Sox organization in the Dominican Summer League. The young outfielder holds a .267 batting average, with two homers and 14 steals in 96 games. While he clearly has speed, it’s far too early to say what, if anything, Rincones will one day do in the majors.
While the Red Sox didn’t get anything flashy in Davis, they didn’t give up much, either. This trade addresses an area of need, in both the short and long terms. The A’s, meanwhile, get to move a veteran who wouldn’t re-sign anyway, and try out a younger face. Overall, it seems like a good, if minor, trade for both teams.