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Khris Davis contract should make the A’s and their fans ecstatic

Michael Dixon
Vincent loves Khris Davis
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics announced on Thursday that they had extended Khris Davis to a contract extension through the 2021 season.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle added that Davis will make $16.75 per year (or $33.5 million total) over 2020 and 2021. Including 2019, the deal is worth exactly $50 million.

If you’re a fan of the A’s you must be thrilled. First of all, it’s a good deal.

One of baseball’s most powerful hitters secured: And he’s secured at a reasonable cost.

  • From 2016-2018, Davis hit 133 home runs, hitting at least 42 each year. No other player in baseball was that consistent. He also slugged .534 in that stretch.
  • The other side of that is that he is also pretty one-dimensional. Davis has hit .247 in each of the last four full seasons. He sports a .323 OBP in that same period. Those are pretty modest totals.
  • Davis is a DH. When he does get stuck playing the field (like on the road in interleague play), it’s an adventure.
  • Additionally, Davis is 31. While that’s not old for a power hitter, it’s not young, either. History tells us that the early-30s is the end of a player’s prime, not the beginning.
  • Make no mistake, Davis’ consistent power far outweighs his combined negatives. But especially for a small budget team like the A’s, overpaying would be a real drain.
  • But less than $20 million a year for someone who’ll reliably belt 40-plus homers? To say the least, that’s quite reasonable.

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say that you disagree. As reliably powerful as Davis is, maybe you think that it’s still an overpay.

You don’t have to be crazy about the terms: But if you’re an A’s fan, this deal should still make you ecstatic.

  • It’s well known that the A’s have traditionally been unable, unwilling, or both, to spend money and retain their key players.
  • But Oakland is spending money on Davis bodes well for the A’s doing the same with the likes of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and the franchise’s other young cornerstones.
  • A more cynical argument would be that Oakland signing Davis only makes it more likely that the other players will be moved. And if the player signed to an extension was someone like Chapman or Olson, we’d go along with that.
  • But, for all of the aforementioned reasons, spending money on Davis makes no sense if it only means letting the likes of Chapman and/or Olson go. If the A’s only had a certain number of these bigger contracts in the budget, Davis would be an easy odd man out.
  • But Oakland was willing (and more importantly, able) to spend the kind of money needed to keep Davis around. Chances are the same will be true with the younger stars.

“Moneyball” immortalized the frustrations that the A’s have had when it comes to keeping their top guys. But the truth is, this has plagued this franchise going back to its days in Philadelphia.

The A’s have fielded some of the best teams in baseball history. But they’ve almost always had a limited shelf life with their players. As such, they’ve also fielded some of the worst teams in baseball history, frequently shortly after the glory years.

Extending Davis doesn’t guarantee a World Series. But it’s a tremendous sign that the issues that have held this franchise back for so long may be coming to an end.