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Rangers designate Khris Davis for assignment

The Rangers part ways with 2018 home run king, putting his career at a crossroads.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners Photo by Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Outfielder/DH Khris Davis, who led the majors with 48 homers in 2018 and had three straight 40+ homer, 100+ RBI seasons with the Athletics from 2016-18, has been designated for assignment by the Rangers after playing in just 22 games with Texas. The club announced the move in conjunction with the recall of outfielder Eli White prior to the opener of a two-game series against the Giants on Tuesday night:

Davis is in the second and final season of a two-year, $33 million contract extension that he signed with the A’s in April 2019. He was dealt to Texas in a February deal that sent longtime Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus to Oakland. Both players have struggled with their new clubs, and the Rangers decided to cut bait with Davis on Tuesday after he posted a .157/.262/.333 slash line with two homers and five RBIs in 61 plate appearances. It’s not immediately clear what the Rangers will to do to replace him at the DH position — Willie Calhoun will start there on Tuesday night, but he hasn’t provided much more than average offense over five big-league seasons. No matter what they decide, this allows a last-place Texas team to get a little bit younger and give opportunities to players with more upside than Davis provides at this point.

Davis, 33, might have difficulty getting another job, even though he’s not that far removed from being one of the best sluggers in the major leagues. He’s been trending downward for each of the past three seasons and has a .212/.291/.374 slash line with 27 homers (23 of them in 2019) over that stretch. That might be acceptable if Davis was making a difference in the field or on the basepaths, but he’s one of the least valuable defensive players in the majors (he’s played 17 games in the outfield since the start of the 2018 season and has -4 defensive runs saved in that span) and he hasn’t even attempted to steal a base since 2017. If any team wants to give him an opportunity, though, it’ll be cheap. He’ll be owed just the pro-rated portion of the major league minimum, assuming he clears waivers.