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The Weekly Bernie, 1/9/17: Oakland A’s not done yet after adding Rajai Davis

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The A’s have found their new centerfielder in old friend Rajai Davis, and have also shown some interest in other free agents, among other news.

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Photo by John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Welcome back to The Weekly Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!

  • On Tuesday evening the A’s signed 36 year-old outfielder Rajai Davis to a one year, $6 million contract. Rajai, who played for the A’s from 2008 through 2010, had a nice bounceback campaign with the American League Champion Cleveland Indians in 2016. He hit a career-high 12 home runs and stole an AL-leading 43 bases. He will likely be the A’s everyday starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter, and adds speed and solid defense to a club sorely lacking both. While he isn’t necessarily an impact player, Rajai is a welcome addition for the team, the clubhouse, and the fanbase.
  • The A’s might not be done yet. They have reached out to free agent slugger Mark Trumbo, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, and have also shown interest in third baseman Trevor Plouffe, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Both players match the A’s interest in adding another right-handed bat, but are curious fits for the team as a whole. Trumbo would make some sense at first base or designated hitter, but is a horrible outfielder and a very one-dimensional, power-only hitter. He lead the majors last season with 47 home runs but was only a two-win player and posted the same exact wRC+ as Khris Davis (123). The A’s lineup is also fairly righty-heavy already. All in all, Trumbo would be attractive on a short, cheap deal to play first base or designated hitter.
  • Plouffe, on the other hand, would only be a stopgap at one of the corner positions. He isn’t a great defender and is about an average hitter overall, but he does have some power and can play either third base or first. He could be insurance for Ryon Healy or a solid bench bat. Neither player would be a horrible addition, but as Nico opines, it seems like other free agents like Jose Bautista or Luis Valbuena could do a much better job playing the same roles for similar prices.
  • In addition to a righty hitter, the A’s are also in the market for bullpen help, says Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The A’s have at least five relievers who figure to be locks for the 2017 team, but you can never have too much pitching. If they do go after an arm, which available reliever should they choose?
  • The AL West-rival Seattle Mariners made a pair of intriguing moves on Friday. First, the club dealt veteran outfielder and former Athletic Seth Smith to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for righty Yovani Gallardo. Smith, now 34, has quietly been a reliable 1-2 win outfielder for most of his career. The left-handed hitter has one year remaining on his contract. Gallardo has had an up-and-down career and struggled last season in Baltimore, but the 30 year-old is a solid innings-eater with potential. He has a $13 million team option for 2018.
  • Next, the Mariners sent righty Nate Karns to the Kansas City Royals for speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Dyson, one of the A’s centerfield targets earlier in the offseason, is in his final year of team control. He is a phenomenal defensive outfielder with blazing speed, but has little power. Karns, 29, wasn’t great for the Mariners in 2016 but has back-end potential and could even become a bullpen power arm. He has four years of team control remaining.

Bernie’s Weekly Deal: Dillon Overton (or a similar prospect) to the Houston Astros for Jake Marisnick

The Astros, after signing Carlos Beltran and Josh Reddick, have a glut of outfielders. Those two, along with George Springer, Nori Aoki, Evan Gattis, Yulieski Gurriel, and a handful of prospects should all see at least a bit of time in the outfield this season. That makes Marisnick expendable. Dillon Overton could be interesting to the Astros. The lefty was horrendous for the A’s in a small sample in 2016, but he has a very similar profile to Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, and perhaps the Astros would take a chance on him.

Marisnick is a 25 year-old left-handed hitting outfielder. His calling card is his defense, as he is above average at all three spots. He also has good speed, and while the bat isn’t there he does have offensive potential. He would form a nice platoon of some sort in centerfield with Rajai, and still has four years of team control remaining.

What to expect this week:

Perhaps the A’s will add their right-handed bat this week, and bullpen arms like Greg Holland and Joe Blanton could soon come off the board. Otherwise, the rumors have been slow as of late.

That’s all for this week. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!