Why The A's Should NOT Trade Rajai Davis

Don't worry -- this isn't the post where I say, "Because he's my mom's favorite player and she's barely over the Swisher trade." All this is true, as is the fact that when Rajai pinch hit with the game on the line, and he hadn't been playing much, my mom calmly declared, "He's going to win the game," which he did. And later on, when Davis was hitting well and I said, "He's not a good enough hitter to hit this well playing every day the rest of the season," she calmly retorted, "Yes he is," and she was right.

But while "mother knows best" works ok for child-rearing, it is not the thrust of this particular post. There are two other reasons why it would be a mistake for the A's to deal Rajai in the wake of an apparent Coco Crisp signing.

1. "Sell high." I get it. "Rajai will regress." I know. However, Rajai can regress and still be a big asset to the team. If you believe Davis is going to regress into a .230/.290 hitter, then sure he should be moved to anyone starry-eyed enough to interpret his .305 batting average in 2009 as gospel.

But Rajai may well regress to a line of .270/.330/.380, which would get him on base enough to steal about 40 bases, and to go first-to-third and second-to-home (and occasionally first-to-home because he's Rajai) on exactly a trruckload of singles, and he will play an above-average CF. That's a very good player at a very good salary. Otherwise known as "still a better value, and arguably flat-out a better player (especially when you factor in health) than Coco Crisp."

2. Here's the part that will drive some crazy, because it has nothing to do with the numbers. The A's are a young team trying to encourage their players to play hard, play well, and expect to win. Rajai Davis almost single-handedly ignited a comatose team last year and was as big a reason for the A's 2nd half resurgence as any position player on the team.

You don't trade that, you reward it with a full-time job on your team. Did Davis overachieve? Yes. Isn't that what you want your players to strive to do? "Overachieve and jump-start our team and we'll"...what? Trade you? No. Play you.

Sure, if come May 15th Rajai is hitting .230/.290 you might not start him everyday anymore, but he has earned the right to show that the last 3 months weren't a fluke, and given that the last 3 months were the first time, in his entire major league career, that Rajai Davis has played every day, it doesn't take some absurd leap of faith to think he might play very well in 2010, regression or not.

If the A's reward their overachieving, catalytic players by "selling high" and dumping them for Coco Crisp, they will send a terrible message to a young group of "kids." Are messages important? That's a matter of opinion. But Rajai Davis should be on the A's in 2010, no matter what breakfast cereals the A's add to the menu, and if you don't agree then my mom is going to beat up your mom. So there.

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