It’s Wednesday morning, which means it’s officially September. Today rosters expand, and MLB teams each get to call up two additional players.
The question on the minds of Oakland A’s fans is whether the club will promote Khris Davis. Perhaps the better question is, why not?
Davis played his 16th game for the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators on Tuesday, and he hit his 10th homer. Midway through the evening he was pulled for a pinch-hitter, which might be a sign that he’s already on the way to join the A’s, but there haven’t been any reports on the matter yet.
Oakland has several candidates for their two new roster spots, who could fill a wide variety of useful backup roles. But none of them bring the upside of a vintage Davis barrage, like the one he’s having right now in the minors with a .921 slugging percentage. He’s got more extra-base hits than strikeouts.
Maybe it won’t translate to the majors. Maybe the small-sample power surge is all a mirage in the Vegas desert, and his .157 batting average with the Rangers earlier this year will repeat itself. But if he pans out into anything like his old star form then it would be quite the jackpot, and there’s no cost to find out other than some at-bats — in an A’s lineup that’s averaging just three runs per game over their last 15 contests, at a DH position that has yielded a lackluster .381 slugging and .664 OPS this year.
Some of those DH at-bats just became available, too, as Mitch Moreland went on the injured list Tuesday. That night Oakland used their second catcher in the DH spot, which is something they have the luxury of doing since both their catchers can hit, but not a risk they need to take if only they had a former Edgar Martinez Award winner on hand to do the job.
Davis is suddenly a perfect fit for the roster, right when they could use an offensive jolt. The A’s value defensive versatility and he doesn’t bring that, but they had one spot set aside for a spare bat and that just opened up. They already called up an extra position player in outfielder Skye Bolt when Moreland went out, and there’s no immediate need for any of the other hitters from Vegas.
What there is a need for is impact. Oakland has a postseason race to climb back into quickly, and if they’re handed a high-ceiling dice roll for free then they need to take it rather than settling for adding some bench depth.
That doesn’t mean panic, but there’s nothing rash or irrational about this move. Davis is already in the organization, nobody needs to be cut to get him on the 40-man roster, and his position in the lineup is up for grabs anyway. Spending some available at-bats to find out if he truly got his swing back is easily worth it.
And of course, it would be fun. Davis is still a fan favorite around these parts, and one of his old teammates played a role in getting him to come back in the first place. Seeing him wearing green-and-gold again would certainly generate more excitement than any other September option.
The A’s have two new rosters spots to play with, they just lost their primary DH, and Khris Davis is annihilating Triple-A. Why not call him up?