MLB, Oakland Athletics

“Moneyball” Oakland Athletics open wallet for Khris Davis

Khris Davis, the reigning AL home run king, is staying in Oakland after signing a two-year contract extension on Thursday.

The Oakland Athletics’ team slogan is “Rooted in Oakland,” and star slugger Khris Davis is putting down his own roots in the city for the next two years.

Davis, the Athletics’ 31-year-old designated hitter, agreed on Thursday to a two-year, $33.5 million contract extension that will keep him in Oakland through the 2021 season. Davis had been eligible to become a free agent after this season.

So far this year, players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have signed $300 million-plus deals with their respective teams. In the past three seasons, though, none of them have hit more home runs than Davis. Davis leads the Majors with 143 home runs since 2016, 19 more than the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton. He led the American League with 48 in 2018 and has an AL-leading 10 through the first 20 games of the 2019 season.

Davis made his MLB debut with Milwaukee in 2013 before being traded to Oakland prior to the 2016 season for Bubba Derby and Jacob Nottingham, two players who have combined to play nine career games in the big leagues. He has crossed the 40-home run and 100-RBI milestones each of his three seasons in Oakland while hitting .247.

“Oakland has been a special place for me since I arrived,” Davis said in a statement released by the club. “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.”

Signing a player like Davis to a new deal isn’t something that the Athletics normally do. Billy Beane, executive vice president of baseball operations, has made a career out of his “Moneyball” tactics, seeking value out of every dollar the team spends. The Athletics rank 27th in the Majors in salary this season, according to Spotrac. They haven’t been out of the bottom five in the league since 2014. After that season, the club traded away third baseman Josh Donaldson, who went on to have an MVP season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 2018, the Athletics had the best record in the AL after June 16 and captured the second Wild Card spot with 97 wins despite having the third-lowest payroll in the league. Still, they allowed Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy, two players vital to that team’s success, to walk in the offseason.

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Beane is making an exception with Davis, however, and the way he’s been hitting home runs out of the Oakland Coliseum, he’s well worth the investment.

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