Was the addition of Khris Davis worth the sacrifice of top prospect Jacob Nottingham?
Just when you think you have finally figured out what Billy Beane, David Forst and the Oakland A’s are doing, Beane and company throw you a curveball. It’s always one that makes you re-examine your thinking about the team and try to understand theirs.
That was what happened Friday afternoon when the Oakland Athletics acquired left fielder Khris Davis from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for top catching prospect Jacob Nottingham and minor league right-hander Bubba Derby. The trade instantly changed the look of Oakland’s lineup going into 2016.
The first shock – and most criticized part of Friday’s move – was the trade of young catcher Jacob Nottingham, recently rated number-66 on Baseball Prospectus’ 101 top prospects list, as well as the third-best prospect in the A’s farm system.
Not that long ago, Beane stated that he planned to keep together a “core group of prospects,” that would all be ready for the majors within approximately two years. At the time, that included Nottingham, an all-around good defensive catcher with a strong arm and a power bat. It’s a rare combination for a catcher and therefore a commodity, making it highly surprising the team was willing to sacrifice the young catcher to acquire Davis.
Another surprise came when the Athletics’ designated pitcher Sean Nolin for assignment to make room for Davis on the 40-man roster. He was a big part of the trade that sent reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays last season.He spent most of last season with Triple-A Nashville due to injuries, but even A’s beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle Susan Slusser told 95.7 the Game that she was surprised by the news. As far as Slusser knew, the team really liked, and saw potential in, Nolin.
Nottingham was a huge price to pay. A better decision by the A’s might have been to try and negotiate another prospect or even two in the trade instead of Nottingham, but that possibility has come and gone. The Brewers’ now have their catcher of the future while the A’s now have a legitimate threat in the middle of the order.
Davis does bring some much-needed power to the A’s lineup. He made his big league debut on April 1, 2013 and his first big league hit was a pinch-hit home run. When Brewers left fielder and former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended for his role in the Biogenesis Scandal, Davis was recalled to the big leagues in July of the same year.
Over three stints and 41 games with Milwaukee in 2013, Davis hit .279 with 11 homers and 27 RBI. Those numbers tied Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy for the team lead, over that span. He combined for 49 home runs, 135 RBI and a total of 106 extra-base hits over the past two seasons.
To learn more about Khris Davis’ background as well as how this affects the A’s defense and lineup you can read my full column on Today’s Knuckleball by clicking on the link below: