MLB Winter Meetings: Tigers rumored to be front-runners for Rajai Davis

Tom Szczerbowski

The Minnesota Twins are also in the hunt for the speedy outfielder.

It appears that a vocal minority of the Tigers' fanbase has been heard. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of USA Today (and former head honcho at MLB Trade Rumors), the Tigers are hot after free agent right-handed outfielder Rajai Davis.

Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports a deal would be for two-years and is calling Davis' arrival "imminent."

Davis, a 33 year old speedster, was drafted by the Pirates in 2001. He was a late season call-up in 2006 and was part of the blockbuster trade with the San Francisco Giants that sent Matt Morris to Pittsburgh in 2007. Davis appeared in 63 games for the Giants in 2007 and 2008 before being picked up by the Oakland Athletics off waivers.

Since joining the A's in '08, Davis has been one of the biggest threats on the basepaths in all of baseball. In 714 games spanning six seasons, he has stolen 241 bases in 300 opportunities. At the plate, he has hit .271/.317/.382 since 2009 and .268/.316/.377 for his career.

For the Tigers, Davis' biggest asset may be his ability to handle left-handed pitching. For his career, Davis has hit lefties at a .294/.354/.425 clip. Last season, he torched lefties to the tune of a .319/.383/.474 line in 128 plate appearances. Davis' speed also makes him an attractive pinch-running option in games that he does not start.

Despite all his speed, Davis has been a slightly below average defender in his career. He has consistently posted negative UZR figures in all three outfield positions, though he has been worth a cumulative +7 defensive runs saved in 5492 career innings. Though he is a below average defender, he is still capable of playing all three outfield positions. This would provide a decent insurance policy if Austin Jackson spends any time on the disabled list, as he has over the past couple seasons.

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