A’s bring back Khris Davis with minor league deal

Dust off your saluting hand, because Khris Davis is back in the A’s organization.

Wednesday morning, the team announced it signed the former slugger to a minor league deal and that he’d be playing in the Arizona Complex League.

While there’s a slim chance Davis makes a quick return to the A’s, don’t be surprised if he sneaks back into the Oakland clubhouse when rosters expand on Sept. 1. I didn’t realize rosters only grow to 28 instead of the classic 40 in September, but A’s manager Bob Melvin said the club intends to send him to Triple-A Las Vegas soon in the hopes he can help Oakland down the road.

The A’s shipped Davis to the Texas Rangers as the centerpiece in the Elvis Andrus trade, but the designated hitter has been unemployed since the Rangers designated him for assignment on June 8. 

This move appears to breathe some life back into Davis’ fading career. Davis strained his left quad trying to leg out a bunt in spring training and started the year on the injured list, before slashing just .157/.262/.333 with two homers and five RBIs in 22 games this season.

It has been a steep fall from grace for Davis, who averaged 44 homers from 2016-18 in Oakland and led the league with 48 dingers in 2018. The A’s awarded him with a two-year, $33.5 million extension in April 2019, but he never showed the same form from that point on.

Davis hasn’t been the same player since he crashed into a wall in Pittsburgh in May 2019 trying to make a play.

While dealing with injuries and extended funks, Davis slashed just .217/.294/.378 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs in 163 combined games for the A’s between 2019-20. Now he gets a fresh start and the chance to re-join all of his buddies in Oakland.

When Davis was initially DFA’d by the Rangers in June, A’s manager Bob Melvin said he was “surprised” by the move.

“I know he didn’t have a ton of at-bats this year,” Melvin said in June. “And he was on the IL for a while, but you can’t help but think about how impactful he was here and how consistent he was here for several years. I hope he does get another opportunity and I hope he gets off to a good start. I still think there’s some game left for him.”

Davis’ role — if any — would likely be very, very limited. If he still has his power stroke, he would be a DH option from the right side and a home-run threat off the bench as a pinch-hitter. His days of playing left field are likely gone. 

But he’s super tight with Matt Chapman and others in the clubhouse, and would surely receive a super warm welcome from his teammates and A’s fans if he ever gets the call back up to Oakland.

It also makes this past offseason’s trade look much better for the A’s — who essentially shipped catcher Jonah Heim and Single-A right-hander Dane Acker to Texas for a big return: everyday shortstop Elvis Andrus, backup catcher Aramis Garcia and the cash considerations which allowed the front office to sign free-agent deals with Sergio Romo, Yusmeiro Petit, Mitch Moreland and Trevor Rosenthal.