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A’s call up Khris Davis and Austin Allen as rosters expand for September

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Khris Davis is back!!!

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

It’s official. Khris Davis is back on the Oakland A’s!

Active rosters expanded by two spots Wednesday, with the beginning of the month of September, and the A’s called up Davis and catcher Austin Allen.

For three years from 2016-18, Davis was Oakland’s star slugger with 40+ homers annually, but then he suddenly slumped for two straight seasons in 2019-20. In February they traded him to the Texas Rangers and he didn’t hit there either, eventually getting released in June. He re-signed with the A’s on a minor league contract in August, and his swing appeared to return in Triple-A Las Vegas, as he blasted 10 long balls in 16 games.

  • Davis, AAA: .333/.382/.921, 196 wRC+, 10 HR, 5.9% BB, 19.1% Ks

In 68 plate appearances, he had more extra-base hits (15) than strikeouts (13). It’s a small sample against minor league pitching in a notoriously hitter-friendly environment, but nonetheless it’s encouraging to see him making that much hard contact again.

Now he’ll get a new chance in Oakland, and his timing couldn’t be better. The A’s offense has struggled lately, averaging just 3.3 runs over their past 15 games, and on top of that DH Mitch Moreland went on the injured list Tuesday. The lineup could use a boost, especially in the power department, and some at-bats just opened up at Davis’ primary position.

Not seven months after being traded, Khris Davis is back to help Oakland in a postseason race. Salute!

Meanwhile, the A’s used their other new roster spot to bring up Allen, who gives them a third catcher and a lefty bat off the bench. He’s played for Oakland each of the last two seasons, including 14 games last summer and then two more this May. So far he hasn’t found success at the plate in the majors, but he hit well in Triple-A this year with power and a low strikeout rate.

  • Allen, AAA: .321/.356/.592, 126 wRC+, 20 HR, 4.4% BB, 18.3% Ks
  • Allen, MLB 2020-21: 7-for-37 (.189), 2 HR, 1 BB, 16 Ks

No corresponding moves were necessary to bring Davis and Allen up to the bigs. Allen was already on the 40-man roster, and it wasn’t at max capacity so Davis was added to an open spot.

Analysis

September callups don’t get much more exciting than the triumphant return of a former star fan favorite like Davis. Just seeing him wearing green-and-gold again will be fun, before he even takes a swing. What’s more, he genuinely makes sense on this roster.

The A’s needed to go bold here, and they answered the call. They’re trying to climb back into a tough postseason race, and no other available move offers more upside than finding out if Davis can bounce back and go on a homer barrage. If they have a lotto ticket like this in their pocket then they have to play it, and to their credit they’re doing just that.

Allen doesn’t come with the same fanfare, but he’s a similar proposition as a promising power bat with something to prove in the majors. Oakland used both their bonus spots to address the inconsistent offense, bringing in some new faces to see who might get hot.

Or, here’s another way to look at the past week’s worth of moves. Five days ago pitcher Daulton Jefferies came up to replace outfielder Seth Brown, then yesterday outfielder Skye Bolt came up to replace Moreland, and then today Davis and Allen came up. Effectively, it’s like Davis for Moreland at DH, Bolt for Brown as the lefty outfielder, and Jefferies and Allen as the traditional Sept callups — a spare pitcher to add bullpen length or make a spot start if necessary, and a third catcher.

Here’s the updated roster, with the injury report below.

Oakland A's 28-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Sean Manaea (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
Cole Irvin (L)
James Kaprielian (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)

IL: Chris Bassitt (R)
60-IL: Mike Fiers (R)

Relievers

Lou Trivino (R)
Andrew Chafin (L)
Jake Diekman (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Sergio Romo (R)
Deolis Guerra (R)
A.J. Puk (L)
Burch Smith (R)
Daulton Jefferies (R)

60-IL: Trevor Rosenthal (R)
Catchers

Sean Murphy (R)
Yan Gomes (R)
Austin Allen (L)

Infielders

1B: Matt Olson (L)
2B: Jed Lowrie (S)
SS: Elvis Andrus (R)
3B: Matt Chapman (R)
UT: Josh Harrison (R)
UT: Tony Kemp (L)

IL: Mitch Moreland (L)

Outfielders

Mark Canha (R)
Starling Marte (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Skye Bolt (S)
DH: Khris Davis (R)

IL: Seth Brown (L)
IL: Stephen Piscotty (R)

Injury report: