Last December 28 was a big day for several players who changed addresses.
One was high-powered reliever Aroldis Chapman, who will join the Yankees bullpen May 9, is honing his wares in Extended Spring Training while serving his 30-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s Domestic Violence Policy.
The Yankees sent four players – right-handed pitchers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda – to Cincinnati in return. Given the suspension, the Yankees have not received any return on the deal as of yet.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, has gotten a return from Cotham, who has thrown six scoreless innings in six appearances for the rebuilding Reds, nit figuring in any decision. Jagielo, Davis and Renda are still in Double-A, except with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League.
Only Renda of the four has kept the look he had in the Yankees system. Cotham, Davis and Jagielo have all added facial hair.
While Cotham has secured bis spot in the majors, Davis, Jagielo and Renda are still working to get there. Davis and Renda are off to strong starts for Pensacola, which entered Southern League play Sunday with an 8-2 mark. leading the Southern League South. Jagielo is scuffling.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Davis is emerging as one of the Southern League’s top pitchers and could put himself on the fast track to both Triple-A Louisville and the Reds, who are retooling in a lot of areas in the National League Central. He features a fastball that sits at 93-95 and can register a bit higher, a curve with sharp break and developing changeup.
Davis, who is 2-0, 0.82 in two starts and 11 innings, would have started at Double-A Trenton Trenton in 2016 and likely reached Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at mid-season.
“Davis is really the key player for the Reds in this trade,” said a scout from a National League East team. “I would not be surprised at all if he is in the big-league rotation for the club next season.”
Davis, who threw six scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over the Jacksonville Suns, Miami’s Double-A affiliate, Saturday, came to the park feeling a bot under the weather and dealt with it.
“I didn’t want it to be an excuse,” he said. “The other team doesn’t feel sorry for me.”
Pensacola’s ERA after 10 games is 1.80, but Davis credits the whole team in the field for that.
“Our ERA under two shows how good our defense is,” Davis said. “It’s not just the pitching staff. We’re not averaging 27 strikeouts per game.”
One other matter has changed for Davis. Playing for a National League affiliate against another National League affiliate, he bats in that situation. He got his first RBI since high school on a slow and high chopper to second base Saturday, scoring former Thunder teammate Renda in the fourth inning.
Renda, who has played both second and third, is hitting .313 (10-for-32), His goal for this season is to improve his throwing accuracy, the one weakness in his game he showed after coming to the Yankees system from Washington for reliever David Carpenter last June 11.
Jagielo, the Notre Dane product, is hitting just .189 (7-for-37). Given the time he missed last season, playing in just 58 games, his timing may just be coming back into focus.
The Yankees will not know what value they get out of this trade until Chapman pitches and if they are able to re-sign him, as this is his walk year, In Cotham and Davis, Cincinnati already has some useful pieces. The jury is still out on Jagielo and Renda.