10/25/12 5:45 PM ET
Blue Jays mulling over Davis' option for 2013
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Toronto has until three days after the completion of the World Series to determine the veteran outfielder's fate. A $3 million club option hangs in the balance and will ultimately determine whether Davis finds himself back in a Blue Jays uniform next season.
Davis isn't sure which direction Toronto ultimately will decide to go, but doesn't seem overly concerned about his fate as the postseason nears its completion.
"That's the hope, I suppose that is the hope," Davis said at the end of the season when asked if he wanted the option to be picked up. "For me, I think it will be good either way. If it gets picked up, great. If it doesn't, oh well.
"I don't try to concern myself with it. I think that's a little thing for me. It's not a big thing for me. I think it's something that really I have no control over, so I try to control what I can control. That's my attitude and just continue to keep my good habits, creating good habits."
Davis is coming off a year which included a surprising amount of playing time. He was slated to come off the bench as a late-inning pinch-runner and a part-time reserve player, but a slow start to the year by Eric Thames resulted in a starting gig by early May.
The 32-year-old Davis ultimately appeared in 142 games -- one off a career high. The numbers at the plate weren't exactly spectacular (.257 average, .309 on-base percentage) but he did manage to contribute on the basepaths by finishing second to Angels' outfielder Mike Trout in stolen bases with 46.
Davis also played a key versatile role for former manager John Farrell by starting games at all three outfield positions. It's the type of skill set that all teams crave, but also one that comes at a cost. The Blue Jays must now decide whether to spend the money on Davis or re-allocate the funds to address another areas of need.
"You're looking at his option salary is $3 million, with a $500,000 buyout attached to that," general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently said. "So it's really a $2.5 million expense one way or the other.
"From that standpoint, it's just something -- he has done a good job for us, but we'll have to make a decision at the end of the year. He has been solid."
Whatever the Blue Jays end up deciding to do, it remains extremely unlikely the club would bring Davis back in a starting role. Anthopoulos has mentioned in the past that he believes Davis is best suited as a weapon off the bench as opposed to being relied upon for daily contributions in the starting lineup.
The overall numbers would tend to support that theory.
Davis has hit just .260 with a .301 OBP and .659 OPS vs. right-handers during his seven-year career. The stats spike against lefties, though, with a .290 average, .349 OBP and .766 OPS.
Combine that type of production with blistering speed and ability at all three outfield positions, and it creates the ideal fourth outfielder. That would also enable the Blue Jays to platoon Davis with 22-year-old rookie Anthony Gose if an upgrade cannot be found during the offseason.
Anthopoulos' final decision will become clear in the near future and for now all Davis can do is wait, but it's something he tries not to keep at the forefront of his mind.
"I think you just have to take it day by day, habit by habit," Davis said. "Because your destiny is controlled by your habits, hopefully I'm creating good habits for myself and everything else will take care of itself.
"I don't know anything yet. I'm just playing it by ear like everyone else and we'll see when that time comes, we'll see how it unfolds."
If the Blue Jays opt to go in a different direction, Davis will seek out his best opportunity to earn regular playing time. It's a role he began in the 2011 season following the departure of Vernon Wells, but one that is no longer guaranteed because of a pair of somewhat inconsistent years.
Davis would hit the open market still thinking about a 2009 season where he managed to hit above .300, and still thinking about proving something to those who view him simply as a reserve.
"I think every year you have something to prove, that you belong," Davis said. "I think that's the common theme around here. I think every year you have to come out and you have to produce again. There's always something to improve upon every year.
"I'm constantly trying to get better and I think I achieved my goal of getting better, and I feel like I'm better now than I was at the start of the season. I think I'm satisfied with my progression."
Satisfied or not, it's now the Blue Jays' move to determine whether he's part of their future or a player from the past.