The Chris Davis Dilemma

chris davis
Chris Davis walks back to the dugout following an out. (Photo Courtesy: Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

In 2016, the Baltimore Orioles signed first baseman/DH Chris Davis to a seven-year/$161M contract; following a four year stretch in which Davis hit 159 HRs, drove in 412 runs, and a 136 OPS+. That’s the biggest contract in the history of the organization, and it seems like they bid against themselves on that one.

Fast forward four years and things do not look as bright as they once did. From 2016-2018, Davis has hit 80 HRs, has 194 RBI, and an 87 OPS+. He had one of the worst seasons in MLB history last year, slashing .168/.243/.296, and was worth -2.8 WAR. That’s right, he cost the Orioles nearly three games last year!

Davis went 0-5 on Monday night, keeping intact a Major League Record that he’s probably not too proud of. He extended his hitless streak to 0-49. Yes, he hasn’t gotten a base hit in his last 49 at-bats. That’s going back to last season as well. He is 0-28 this season alone. How does one even do that? I mean, give me 49 at-bats. I’m fairly confident that I would be able to get one base hit. You’d have to get lucky at some point! Speaking of luck, Davis could be having some very bad luck, as he has had some hard hit balls and line drive outs over the last few games. You know he’s growing frustrated after struggling mightily last year. It’s not like he wants to have this record! But maybe he just doesn’t have it anymore. Maybe luck has nothing to do with it and he’s just fallen off a cliff. It happens with players all the time.

Regardless of what the reason is, the Orioles need to make a decision soon: Do they continue to truck out this guy day in and day out and hope that he can get it together, or do they accept the fact that last year was not an outlier and this guy simply doesn’t have what it takes to hit in the big leagues anymore? They are paying Davis through the 2022 season. If this is how he performs at 33 years old, what is he gonna play like at 36? When does ownership say “enough is enough” and cut him loose? If he costs the team three wins a season, they might as well just pay him to sit at home. Based on WAR, he’s below replacement level. Someone in the minor leagues would perform better than him at this point. Maybe now is the time to give up on him and admit that he wasn’t worth the contract and just see if you have anyone in the farm system who might be worth a roster spot. They owe it to their fans, themselves, and to be perfectly honest, they owe it to Davis. Rather than continue to have the man embarrass himself every game, they might be better off just releasing him and paying him the remainder of his contract.

At this point, Davis is the worst player in the major leagues. A change needs to be made. One way or another, something needs to be done. If not, they will continue to actively cost themselves much needed wins. They won’t be able to find a trade partner. They likely can’t send him down to the minors. The only option may just be to release him at this point.

(All stats as of 4/9/19)

By: Chris Perkowski

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