Rajai Davis - Athletics
Davis' career highlight may always be the guy who Pittsburgh dealt for Matt Morris' corpse, but he's really not a bad player. After 18 at-bats without hitting the Giants had apparently seen enough and designated the 27 year old for assignment to make room for Emmanuel Burris. Naturally Billy Beane picked Davis up and gets him a start in center almost immediately. This seems like a typical Beane move; acquiring a player at little cost and allowing him a chance to showcase his talents for a potential new suitor, in Davis' case he'll likely play each of the outfield spots with a couple of starts per week.
Frank Thomas - Athletics
Another usual Beane move. It wasn't too long ago that Thomas was "done", even the White Sox wouldn't give him a courtesy deal, instead he landed an incentives laden deal with the Athletics and slug his way to a .926 OPS. Thomas would walk at the end of that season and sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, however he would also have a free agent "rank" of Type-A, landing Beane a first round pick as compensation, that pick would turn into Corey Brown, an outfielder who is assaulting the minors with his bat. Thomas' new go around with the Athletics likely won't end with the same success, however it's a nice low-risk, high reward move that Beane duplicated just two seasons ago.
Gabe Gross - Rays
A nice little swap of an underachieving former second round arm (Josh Butler) and a former top prospect who makes for a nice platoon mate. Much like the Dan Johnson waiver claim or the Carlos Pena, Hee-Seop Choi, and even Sean Burroughs moves of the past, the Rays seem willing to give former top prospects one last shot at success. Gross will likely form a triangle platoon with Eric Hinske and Jonny Gomes, but an outfield of the range heavy Carl Crawford and strong armed B.J. Upton plus Gross is about the best defensive unit the Rays have produced in a while.
Josh Banks - Padres
We could've called this post "Typical Smart Moves by Smart Organizations", Beane, Rays' general manager Andrew Friedman, and Padres top men Kevin Towers and Paul DePodesta are some of the best at getting great production for little or no cost. Banks is a control pitcher with a small history of being a groundball pitcher, put him PETCO and could he possibly be a Cla Meredith clone?