MLB: Davis, Brewers finalize $5.25 million, 1-year deal
By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE— Doug Davis missed his opportunity to be part of Milwaukee’s recent success when he was traded after the 2006 season. He wasn’t about to let another chance to rejoin the Brewers pass.
“They’re winners. They continue — the last three years — to play a part in the playoff (race),” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday after finalizing a $5.25 million, one-year contract. “There’s a lot of familiar faces in the clubhouse, a lot of familiar faces up in the office, too. All that played a part in it.”
Davis was 37-36 with a 3.92 ERA over 3› seasons with the Brewers from 2003-06.
“When I was here, we had just turned the corner and actually had our first .500 season since ’92,” Davis said. “I knew Milwaukee was going to climb and keep on getting better and better, it was just a matter of these players getting a little time behind them.”
The young core of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and others helped Milwaukee win the NL wild card in 2008. Last season, the starting pitching staff posted a majors-worst 5.37 ERA, and the Brewers sank to 80-82 despite big years by Fielder and Braun.
General manager Doug Melvin made it his offseason goal to bring in two proven starters, and he gave left-hander Randy Wolf a $29.75 million, three-year deal just after December’s winter meetings.
Davis, a 34-year-old left-hander, is guaranteed $4.25 million this season, and the deal includes a $6.5 million mutual option for 2011 with a $1 million buyout if the club turns down the option. Davis can also make $1 million in performance bonuses each season.
He’ll receive $125,000 for starts 28, 29, 30 and 32, and for 180, 185, 190 and 195 innings pitched. Davis has made 33 starts and pitched at least 190 innings in five of the last six years.
“Incentives are something that will push a person to go out there and take the ball every five days,” he said. “That’s very important to me. I don’t want to be one of those guys making millions of dollars and don’t pick up a ball for the whole year.”
Davis’ first stint in Milwaukee ended when he was part of a six-player trade with Arizona in 2006. He was 9-14 with a 4.12 ERA for the Diamondbacks last season.
At times, general manager Doug Melvin has second-guessed his move to deal Davis in a package that brought back catcher Johnny Estrada.
“I should’ve been more vocal in saying, `Hey, I’m here. Don’t trade me,”’ Davis said. “You can’t hold it against anybody. ... I’ve been with Doug since ’96 when we were with the Texas Rangers. He’s just a very fair man and gives you the benefit of the doubt.”
Davis is 90-97 with a 4.31 ERA during 11 seasons with that includes stints with Texas and Toronto. In 2008, he made 26 starts because he underwent treatment for thyroid cancer, something he says has helped put his career in perspective.
“It’s humbling. Some fans feel that players are untouchable to those kind of things. It’s just a shock of reality that it’s something anybody can get,” he said. “After you make a comeback, you just really appreciate your health and what you can do for others.”