Giants Place J.D. Davis On Waivers

Giants Place J.D. Davis On Waivers

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6:42pm: As noted by Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, the Giants would have the option to release Davis in the event that he clears waivers, while paying only a pro-rated portion of his contract as termination pay. The club would have this option due to the fact that salaries decided via arbitration such as Davis’s $6.9MM salary are not fully guaranteed under the current collective bargaining agreement. Had the Giants and Davis had avoided arbitration, his salary would have been fully guaranteed in the event of a release.

2:48pm: The Giants have placed third baseman J.D. Davis on waivers, FanSided’s Robert Murray writes (via X).  The move comes just a week after San Francisco signed Matt Chapman, which seemed to make Davis an odd man out in the team’s corner infield picture.

With Chapman now at third base, Jorge Soler at DH, and LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores slated as a platoon tandem at first base, there wasn’t much room for Davis to find everyday playing time, making him something of an overqualified bench piece.  Chapman’s contract came after months of speculation that he would eventually land in San Francisco to re-unite with his former manager Bob Melvin, so really, trade rumors have been surrounding Davis for much of the offseason.

The waiver-wire move indicates that a trade couldn’t be found, yet that doesn’t mean that there isn’t interest in Davis’ services.  It could be that rival clubs weren’t willing to meet whatever asking price Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was seeking, and were content to wait and see if Davis would just end up available to be claimed.  By that same logic, it seems possible that Davis might also clear waivers entirely if no team wants to assume the $6.9MM salary he is owed for the 2024 season, after an arbitration panel ruled in Davis’ favor at a hearing last month.

Davis hit .248/.325/.413 with 18 homers over 546 plate appearances with San Francisco in 2023, as hot starts and finishes to the season bookended a pretty severe slump over the summer months.  The offensive production translated to a 104 wRC+, which is drop from the 118 wRC+ Davis posted over his first six MLB seasons with the Astros, Mets, and Giants.

While Davis’ bat has long been pretty solid, he has been something of a man without a defensive position.  The public metrics give him decent grades over 287 2/3 innings as a first baseman, though Davis’ work at third base has generally been considered subpar.  His 2023 performance drew at least mixed reviews, as Outs Above Average (+5) and UZR/150 (+0.8) had a positive view of his third base glovework, while the Defensive Runs Saved (-11) metric was much less impressed.

On paper, the Cubs, Brewers, Blue Jays, Rays, Nationals, Rangers, Guardians, Mariners, White Sox, Athletics, and Padres are teams that all have clear or hypothetical needs at either corner infield position or at DH, so any could potentially fit as Davis’ next landing spot.  Even a relatively modest $6.9MM salary could provide an obstacle in some of these situations, and the presence of such other free agents (such as J.D. Martinez, Brandon Belt, or Evan Longoria) who could fill at least one of Davis’ positions might further complicate his market.

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