Baltimore Orioles: Thoughts on Christian Walker vs Chris Davis

Yes, there is a still a slim chance the Baltimore Orioles could still make the playoffs in 2020.

But the Baltimore Orioles continues to be in the rebuilding process and it is, in part, due to the horrendous contract Chris Davis signed prior to the 2016 season.

The Baltimore Orioles slugger signed a seven-year, $161 million deal in January of 2016. It made sense at the time due to Davis’ 2015 season when he hit 47 home runs and slugged .562.

However, since signing the deal Davis has not hit higher than .221 and has only passed the 30 home run threshold one time. He has hit well below the Mendoza line the past two seasons and is on his way to doing so again this year, especially if his injury lingers.

The O’s could have extended Manny Machado or Jonathan Schoop with the money they gave Davis and kept former first baseman Christian Walker, who is again having success with the Diamondbacks this season.

Walker, 29, has been a bargain for the D-Backs the past two seasons. Last year, he slugged 29 home runs and had a solid .825 OPS. This year, he’s arguably been even better. He is hitting a career-high .284 with an OPS of .823.

Walker, a fourth-round pick of the Birds in 2012, was once a highly-touted prospect in the Orioles’ organization. He was even a two-time Orioles’ minor league player of the year. However, he was only given the opportunity to show off his skills 13 times in an Oriole uniform before they put him on waivers in 2017.

According to spotrac.com, Walker is making an adjusted salary of $218,333 in 2020 while Davis is making an adjusted salary of $7,801,986. Walker’s success and Davis’ drop-off coupled with the difference in salary makes one wonder what might have been if the Orioles had just decided to hold back on the Davis contract and had moved ahead with Walker.

Maybe the Orioles could have extended Machado or Schoop? Maybe they could have signed an ace starting pitcher or beefed up the bullpen?

I hate could’ve, should’ve, would’ve but a player like Schoop or Machado or an ace pitcher combined with a quality first baseman like Walker could have meant a lot less rebuilding over these last few seasons.

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Of course, Walker is no Paul Goldschmidt or Freddie Freeman but waiving him for nothing is an underrated storyline more people need to focus on when asking why the Orioles are in rebuilding mode.

 

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