A’s agree to new deal with slugger Khris Davis
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — At spring training, Khris Davis expressed his desire to stay with the Oakland Athletics on a long-term contract for the next several seasons. He wants to build something special in the East Bay, while keeping up his remarkable home run pace.
Davis now has the new deal he so wanted, after patiently waiting for it to get done.
Davis’ contract, announced by the team Thursday, takes him through the 2021 season. The deal adds $33.75 million for 2020 and ’21, which increased Davis’ guarantee to $50.25 million over three years, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because contract terms had not been announced.
“Oakland has been a special place for me since I arrived,” Davis said. “I love playing here in front of our fans, and my teammates make this feel, like a family. I never hid the fact that I wanted to stay in Oakland because that is how I feel and I’m glad that I can continue to call the city of Oakland my baseball home. This team has a bright future, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Davis hit a majors-best 48 home runs last season while setting a career high with 123 RBIs, helping send the 97-win A’s back to the playoffs for the first time in four years. He is leading the majors again with 10 home runs so far this season and is batting .260 with 20 RBIs.
“I never think he’s cold, I don’t care if he’s striking out, I don’t care if he’s getting out,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday. “We had some success last series against him but I never take that for granted. He’s one swing away from changing the entire complexion of any game. When the lineup rolls around, if he’s hot, its’ very dangerous, if he’s cold it’s even more dangerous because you think that might be the next at-bat that he breaks out.”
Davis agreed in January to a $16.5 million, one-year contract and would have been eligible for free agency after this season.
Oakland general manager David Forst had said since last season ended that signing Davis long-term was a top priority, but also communicated with the slugger about the need to put other pieces of the roster together first to try to build a consistent contender.
Davis was fine with that. Oakland had Thursday off, and the A’s designated hitter was scheduled to hold a news conference Friday at the Coliseum.
“Whatever works best for the organization,” Davis said in February. “For me personally, I just want to focus on this year. I don’t like to get ahead of myself or look back in the past and play in the past. I just try to focus on the now. Whatever comes long-term is going to come. If they want me here long-term they’re going to get something done.”
Following two straight slow free-agent markets, Davis joined Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Xander Bogaerts and Aaron Hicks in agreeing to a long-term deal and foregoing open bidding after the World Series.
Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Didi Gregorius and Anthony Rendon top the potential free-agent group for now.
Notes: RHP Edwin Jackson, who reached a minor league deal last week to rejoin the A’s, is in Arizona preparing before he begins pitching in some games for Triple-A Las Vegas. Jackson went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 17 starts and 92 innings for Oakland last season, joining his 13th major league club after opting out of his minor league contract with the Nationals. He would get paid a $2 million salary while in the majors, if he if is added to the 40-man roster. He could earn $500,000 in performance bonuses based on starts: $150,000 each for 15 and 18, and $200,000 for 20.