Detroit inks Davis to platoon with Dirks in left field
Veteran outfielder adds basestealing threat to Tigers' arsenal
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers appear to have found their answer in left field, and it's not the much-rumored, oft-speculated pursuit of Shin-Soo Choo. Instead, they're prepared to go with a platoon of Andy Dirks and Rajai Davis.
The Tigers have agreed to terms with Davis on a two-year deal, according to a report from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. The team has not confirmed the agreement, as is their policy when a contract is pending a physical.
The speedy Davis will be the right-handed hitting platoon with Dirks, as well as a basestealing option in the late innings of games he doesn't start. His .294 career average and .354 on-base percentage against lefties, including .319 and .383 last season in a part-time role with the Blue Jays, fits what the Tigers were seeking.
Meanwhile, even at age 33, Davis' speed continues the makeover of a roster that had severe baserunning limitations last season. Despite just 108 games and 360 plate appearances, Davis stole 45 bases in 51 attempts in 2013, and he has racked up at least 40 steals in four of the last five seasons.
By contrast, the Tigers stole 35 bases as a team last season, led by Austin Jackson's eight. Though Jackson has legitimate speed in center field, that has never translated onto the basepaths. Their best real basestealing threat in recent years was Quintin Berry, who platooned in left field down the stretch in 2012.
General manager Dave Dombrowski strongly hinted at a platoon situation in left field on Monday. That's now coming to fruition.
"There are some clubs doing pretty darn well with some platoons at different spots, too," Dombrowski said. "So they do work at times. Just because it's not per se an All-Star somewhere doesn't mean that you can't get the production that you're looking to have out of certain spots. Sometimes they're more productive for you."