For the first time in his career, Toronto’s base-stealing veteran outfielder Rajai Davis will have the opportunity to decide his own fate. Davis is set to become a free agent at the end of October and, unsurprisingly, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has remained noncommittal on Davis’ future with the club.
Since joining the Blue Jays, Rajai Davis has been regarded primarily as a part-time player unless given the chance to play regularly due to injuries within the starting line up; something he openly admits he would like to change this offseason, which undoubtedly makes it the most significant factor when weighing his options. Davis is expected to seek a two-year contract (at minimum) with a secured everyday spot and annual salary in the range of $5 million.
Per club policy, the Blue Jays do not publicly comment on contract negotiations, but it is obvious that an anticipated raise on the $2.5 million Davis earned in 2013 could save the club money by using Anthony Gose in Davis’ current backup role next season.
Rajai Davis’ lack of success against righties looms over his appeal as a potential starting player, but there are always a few teams that are willing to look past that in hopes of adding more impact to their offense as he has proven himself time and time again as a major base-stealing threat. In the 2013 season, he was caught only six times in 51 opportunities and has four seasons under his belt where he has surpassed the 40 stolen-bases plateau.
Adam Lind’s club option also leaves lingering questions and speculation concerning who we could expect to see north of the border come 2014.
Anthopoulos has similarly remained vague on Lind’s future with the club, only acknowledging that there is “a good chance” his option will be exercised as opposed to parting ways with the 2009 Silver Slugger recipient and the $2 million that would be owed with a buyout.
What was deemed to be one of the tougher decisions the GM would have to make this offseason may have been made easier by Lind’s strong finish closing out September. Lind completed the year with a .288 average, 23 homers, 67 RBIs and was able to avoid the DL all season for the first time since 2010. He also picked up two Blue Jays’ Player of the Month Awards, making him the only Blue Jays player to do so multiple times in the 2013 season.
Earlier this month, the club announced that hitting coach Chad Mottola and first base coach Dwayne Murphy will not be returning next year.
Mottola was fired after his first season as the big-league club’s hitting coach after serving in the same capacity with its triple-A Las Vegas team in 2011 and 2012. Now seen as the scapegoat by many for the failures of 2013, Mottola will part from the organization he joined in 2007 without any detailed public explanation.
Murphy, however, left the Blue Jays on a different note by confirming his retirement. He had been the team’s hitting coach under previous managers Cito Gaston and John Farrell prior to assuming first base duties this past year.
Returning to John Gibbons’ staff are pitching coach Pete Walker, bench coach DeMarlo Hale, third base coach Luis Rivera and bullpen coach Pat Hentgen.