The Athletics acquired Ike Davis from the Pirates Sunday, but they could still non-tender him, Susan Slusser reports.
Davis, 27, was acquired from the Pirates for depth and cost essentially nothing; the A’s sent Pittsburgh international bonus slot No. 27 and received No. 86, meaning Oakland can spend about $270,000 less for amateur players from Latin America while the Pirates can increase their spending by that amount.
... [H]aving Davis on the roster as a stopgap means that the A’s more easily can explore deals for any of their left-handed hitters who DH, play first or in the outfield, including Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and John Jaso. If Oakland swings no deals, by this time next month, the A’s just as easily might non-tender Davis.
The idea is that, as frustrating as Davis is, he's still a big-league caliber player (albeit a marginal one), and if the A's end up getting something good for someone like Reddick or Moss, they can keep Davis and play him at first. If they don't trade a lefty, Davis can go, and it's really no harm for the A's, since all they gave up was a bit of flexibility with their international bonus spending. That's potentially a nifty bit of roster gamesmanship by the Athletics, and it makes me wonder if the Pirates could have -- or did -- try something similar with Pedro Alvarez, shopping him while using Davis as a backup plan.
This tactic of trading for a player you might not even tender isn't entirely new, by the way -- check out Michael Barrett's transaction record following the 2003 season.