Front office’s rushed move on Davis comes back to haunt Yankees

J.D. Davis reacts after striking out during the first inning of the Yankees’ opening game against the Mets at Citi Field.

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Veteran infielder J.D. Davis, recently acquired by the Yankees from the A’s, has struggled to find his footing in his new role. The 31-year-old was brought in to address the Yankees’ corner-infield issues, which have been compounded by DJ LeMahieu‘s difficulties at third base and Anthony Rizzo’s absence due to a fractured arm.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone had hoped Davis would provide a much-needed boost, especially against left-handed pitching. However, his performance has not met expectations. In five games with the Yankees, he has recorded just one hit in 13 at-bats, striking out six times. His playing time has been scarce, with only one start since June 28.

Historically, Davis has shown relatively balanced performance against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers, with slightly better numbers against righties in his final season with the Giants. However, this year he has struggled to find his rhythm against all pitchers.

However, his performance has not been eye-catching since 2022. That season, the player posted a .263/.361/.496 slash line in 137 at-bats with the San Francisco Giants. He contributed 20 runs, 8 home runs, and 14 RBIs. This performance was followed by his 2023 season, where he hit .248/.325/.413 with 18 home runs and a career-best 69 RBIs.

Despite these numbers, the Giants opted not to offer him a $6.9 million arbitration contract for the 2024 season. Subsequently, he signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Oakland Athletics.

Yankees first baseman J.D. Davis looks on in the dugout against the Mets at Citi Field on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.
Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

His tenure with Oakland was brief and less impressive. Over 39 games, he managed a .236/.304/.366 line with four home runs and five RBIs. On June 18, the A’s designated him for assignment.

Five days later, on June 23, 2024, Oakland traded him along with cash considerations to the New York Yankees, receiving Jordan Groshans in return.

This acquisition by the Yankees has raised questions about their evaluation process. Some speculate that General Manager Brian Cashman may have been swayed primarily by the player’s low cost, potentially overlooking the team’s existing depth in the process.

But Davis optimistic about his Yankees spot

Despite the slow start, Davis remains optimistic about his abilities. He attributes his struggles to the lack of consistent playing time, noting the difficulty of maintaining timing against high-velocity pitches without regular at-bats.

“I still think I’m the player I’ve always been,’’ he said on Sunday. “It’s just a matter of getting reps, getting back in a groove, but it’s tough when you don’t play and then you try to face 95 [mph] and get your timing down.”

The right-handed hitter understands that limited appearances are part of his current role. He emphasizes the importance of staying prepared and continuing to work on his skills.

With the Yankees set to face right-handed starters in their upcoming series against the Rays in Tampa Bay, Davis’s opportunities may remain limited for now.

J.D. Davis reacts after striking out during the first inning of the Yankees’ opening game against the Mets at Citi Field.

When asked about his expectations for playing time with the Yankees, J.D. Davis expressed uncertainty but gratitude for the opportunity to join a new team. He acknowledged the limited number of left-handed starting pitchers in the majors, a situation he was aware of even during his time with the Giants in spring training before his release.

Davis’s difficulties with the Yankees, coupled with rookie Ben Rice’s impressive performance, might further restrict his chances. Rice’s success could lead to more playing time for the left-handed hitter, even against left-handed pitchers.

Despite these challenges, Davis maintained a resilient attitude, recognizing the tough situation but expressing confidence in his ability to handle it.

“It’s part of the gig,” the player said. “You’ve got to keep staying ready, continue to work on your craft, show up every day and get better.”

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Front office’s rushed move on Davis comes back to haunt Yankees

  1. Need to play Davis. Using Cabrera is not the right move. DJL should be used at 1st and 2nd. Rest Rice against Elite LHP and provide relief for Torres while resting Davis periodically

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