When the Cleveland Indians signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a one-year deal last December, no one expected the 36-year-old to have the impact that he had with the Indians over the summer, and especially in October and November when it mattered most. After an incredible season in Cleveland, it appears as though the veteran has moved on, signing with the Oakland A’s on a one-year, $6 million deal, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan.
In 2016, Davis may have had just a .249/.306/.388 slash line in 454 at-bats, but he brought more than just his bat into the lineup. The speedster led the American League with 43 stolen bases and also had a career-high 12 home runs, 23 doubles, two triples, and 48 RBIs. His stolen bases forced opposing pitchers (and catchers for that matter), to worry about him on the bases, rather than have all of their attention at the plate and against the current batter.
Forget the statistics, what Davis will be known for is that magical night in early November. With the Indians trailing the Chicago Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series, he hit a two-run, two-out home run against the virtually unhittable Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings and send not only Progressive Field into a frenzy, but downtown Cleveland and northeast Ohio into one as well.
In case you forget it, here’s the video of the two-run shot, with audio from legendary play-by-play man Tom Hamilton:
With Davis’ departure, the Indians will lean on players like (gulp) Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer, and Abraham Almonte to take over at center and right field.
Davis will return to Oakland, where he played from 2008-10. With the A’s all but expected to be among the worst teams in the AL, the outfielder could be dealt at the trade deadline to a contender, but only time will tell.
Thank you for one hell of a season, Rajai.