Chris Davis has had one of the most up and down tenures in Baltimore Orioles history. After signing a record 7-year, $161 million contract prior to the 2016 season, Davis has been a non-factor in the Orioles’ lineup.
The Orioles acquired Chris Davis, along with relief pitcher Tommy Hunter, from the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Koji Uehara at the 2011 Trade Deadline.
At the time, it looked like a very beneficial trade for both clubs, as the Rangers were in the midst of a playoff push, looking for a solid bullpen piece, while the Orioles were looking to get younger talent.
Davis’ first full season with the Orioles came in 2012, when he hit a career-high 33 home runs. That personal best wouldn’t last, however, as Davis would have the best year of his career thus far in 2013, when he would hit a league-leading 53 home runs and 138 RBI, participate in the annual Home Run Derby, and make his first All-Star appearance.
After a down year in 2014, which included a 25-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines associated with the drug Adderall, Davis would once again lead the league in home runs with 47 in 2015.
It was a good time for Davis to have another solid year because it was his free agent season. And after a much anticipated and long offseason, Davis would sign an Orioles franchise record deal in January.
Excited to be back in Charm City, Davis looked to continue his success in orange and black, but unfortunately the exact opposite happened.
In 2016, Davis would strike out a career-high 219 times. And after signing his record deal, Davis has struck out 745 times.
Along with constantly striking out at the plate, Davis’ average would steadily decline. Here is the regression of his batting average from 2016 to 2019.
2018: .168/.243/.296 (career-low average)
The Orioles re-signed Davis mainly because of his power at the plate, but since signing the contract, Davis has only hit 92 home runs, compared to the 161 hit hit with the Orioles prior.
The one factor Davis brought with his new deal was his defense at first base. Davis has a career .995 fielding percentage at the position, which is better than Eddie Murray, Keith Hernandez, and Vic Power.
But with the Orioles in the process of a major rebuild, many fans are wondering what role Davis has in the organization.
Orioles GM Mike Elias has already made it clear that Davis will be at Spring Training in February, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Davis will be in the organization for much longer.
Here are so options that could be explored when it comes to what to do with Davis:
Keep him as a bench bat in 2020:
This is the most logical option that the Orioles could look into. With Davis expected to be in Sarasota come February, the organization will get a glimpse of what Davis will bring to the table for the 2020 season.
If he performs somewhat poorly in spring, the team could use Davis as a bench bat, or even better, a defensive replacement at first base.
Keep Davis for the remainder of his contract:
This one seems like a longshot, but it’s definitely possible.
Davis is owed a whopping $69 million over the remaining three years on his contract, which puts the Orioles in a bit of a financial situation when it comes to arbitrations for other players and free agency in the near future.
If the organization really wants to get as much use out of Davis as they can, they could just suck it up and keep him around.
Release him and eat the money:
This is the option most fans want to happen, and it is very well in consideration.
In a rebuild in which younger players are getting more opportunities, Davis doesn’t exactly fit into the big picture.
Being 34 years old, Davis doesn’t really seem to be a part of the long-term plans in Baltimore. Therefore, the Orioles could just cut him and eat the remaining money.
Releasing Davis would open up a roster spot for someone like the Orioles’ No. 3 overall prospect, Ryan Mountcastle, who is a key piece in this rebuild and ultimately the future of this ball club.
This is the most logical and intelligent option, but whatever decision is made, Mike Elias and Co. will do the right thing.
Crush Davis will forever leave his mark in Birdland, but as of now, his career is in jeopardy.
What do you think the Orioles should do with Chris Davis? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure you follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!