By: Chris Larson
Over the course of the past year, Oakland Athletics Designated Hitter/slugger, Khris Davis, has made it clear that he wants to stay in the Bay Area with the Oakland Athletics and would be willing to take less than market value to stay with the organization. In fact, Davis went as far to say that he would be willing to take less per year than his current salary of $16.9 million dollars.
Davis, who is currently 31 years old and won't turn 32 until this coming December, continues to be an integral part of the Oakland Athletics daily lineup and a bat that only continues to get better. If you recall, Khris "Krush" Davis has finished each of the past four seasons with a batting average of .247 and has hit over 40 home runs every year since 2016. Coming off last season, Davis hit a career high 48 home runs over 654 plate appearances and already has 5 this season, making him the first MLB player to hit that many for the 2019 regular season.
While Davis is starting to enter the territorial age that some teams start to fear because of the increased possibility of injury and decline, the Oakland Athletics need Khris Davis and he needs them. As it stands right now, Davis is poised to hit free agency after this season and while he would likely secure a reasonable contract with another organization, that is no longer a guarantee given the way free agency operates now and the role that analytics play into the overall picture.
Therefore, when Khris Davis has publicly come out and stated that he wants to stay with the Oakland Athletics, it's something that the organization must figure out a way, to make happen. For starters, let's begin by looking at the impact that Khris Davis has on a nightly basis, over the past three seasons, from a home run perspective versus the amount of home runs that the Oakland Athletics have hit each of those seasons.
As you can see from the chart above, Khris Davis has hit almost a quarter of the Oakland Athletics total home runs over the past four seasons. That alone is impressive and it's even more impressive that he continues to put up these numbers despite growing in age. Granted, Davis is 31 as mentioned before and is in the midst of his peak, but the usual hitters typically start to hit somewhat of a decline come 32 years of age. It sure doesn't seem like that's going to happen with Davis.
Furthermore, since joining the Oakland Athletics in 2016, Khris Davis has continued to put up great numbers despite having a high strikeout rate. Here is another chart that showcases data over that span, courtesy of FanGraphs.
From that chart, you can obviously notice the difference between Khris Davis walk percentage and his strikeout percentage. The differences are pretty stark and are typical of a power hitter like Davis, but what's impressive is his Isolated Power (ISO) values. As you can see from that column, his Isolated Power continues to climb each year and hasn't stopped climbing despite a climb in age. Last season, Davis recorded a Isolated Power value of (.302) and so far this year its at (.536), albeit through a small sample size, and you have to think that number will come down somewhat as the season wears on. Regardless, it's still a good sign of longevity and another reason why the Oakland Athletics should lock Khris Davis up.
Lastly, if there was another argument that needed to be made, it would be from an overall team perspective. According to the Oakland Athletics depth chart, Khris Davis is the A's primary Designated Hitter and has the ability to play out in left field as well. After Davis, comes newly acquired, Kendrys Morales, who the team traded for from the Toronto Blue Jays, on the eve of Opening Day last week. One could simply make the argument that they would rather have Davis in that role on an everyday basis over Morales.
Morales is 35-years old, nearly four years old than Davis, and while he is a great clubhouse guy and someone that helps pick the team up during the ugly times, Davis possesses the same type of qualities. From everything that has come out of the Athletics clubhouse over the years, there has never been any bad press about Khris Davis and he is constantly there supporting his teammates on and off the field. As is the case with Davis, Kendrys Morales is a free agent after this season as well which means that there shouldn't be any debate when it comes to who to keep in that role.
Regardless, now is the time for the Oakland Athletics to lock up Khris Davis and comply with his easy-going approach to a deal. It has been reported that Davis would be willing to sign a three-year, $30 million dollar contract which would come down to an AAV of $10 million dollars and would be more than worth it for a hitter of Davis's caliber. In addition, a value of that amount would be something that a small-market team, such as the Oakland Athletics, could easily fit into their payroll.
Over the past three seasons, Khris Davis has provided plenty of offense and salutes for the Oakland Athletics as he runs around the bases. Now, it's time that the organization provides a salute to him for his offensive ability and keeps him in the fold for the next handful of seasons, as the Athletics look to remain competitive and return to the postseason over the next few seasons.