Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles Chris Davis Saga Has An Important Human Element To Keep In Mind
If the Baltimore Orioles series loss to the Yankees taught the world anything, it’s that Chris Davis is being challenged emotionally during this brutal season.
This week was not one to remember for the Baltimore Orioles. They were swept aside by the New York Yankees as New York finished the year 10-0 at Camden Yards and hit an MLB record 43 home runs in those ten games which was the most any team hit in the same visiting ballpark in a season.
Outside of terrible baseball by the Orioles, there was drama in the dugout during Wednesday’s 14-2 shellacking.
In the bottom of the fifth inning down 6-1, Brandon Hyde decided to pinch-hit Jace Peterson for Chris Davis. The veteran Davis was unhappy, to say the least as he had to be restrained from going after Hyde. Watch below.
It’s no secret Davis is not even close to the star player he once was. In 247 at-bats this season he is slashing a less than impressive .182/.243/.296 with only nine home runs and 31 RBI’s. Each of these numbers are on pace to be a carer low for a player who twice led the American League in home runs (2013 & 2015).
The obvious problem the Orioles face with Davis is his contract. Following the 2015 season, Davis signed a seven-year 161 million dollar extension with the Orioles with 42 million set to be deferred payments from 2032-2037. Annually, Davis makes 17 million dollars.
With an astronomically high contract and limited production, no teams would even think about taking Davis’ contract. Thus, Baltimore has no choice but to let him play it out while the team rebuilds. That’s the problem the whole world knows the Orioles have to deal with. The both bigger and harder challenge for the club is managing the human element.
Davis is a former all-star and silver-slugger award winner. He knows just how talented he once was and seeing a stunningly rapid decline in production must come as both a shock and embarrassment for him. Thus, when taken out of the game in the fifth inning of what was still a semi-close game and the match-up in his mind had to be demoralizing because just a few years ago he would’ve been the hitter counted on to begin a rally.
After the game, Hyde said this of choosing to pull Davis: “We had words, and I took him out of the game.”
Obviously, the public will never know what those words were, but it’s safe to say Davis’ lack of production probably had something to do with it.
It’s hard not to feel for Davis. He is a decorated player who is currently a shell of his former self. In addition to individual accolades, Davis played an essential role in helping turn the Orioles franchise around. After missing the playoffs from 1997-2011, Davis helped guide the team to the postseason in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
He was a part of winning teams that played in front of sold-out home crowds for the same franchise that is now just in the beginning of what is likely a three to five-year rebuild.