Monday night, Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis set a very dubious record against the Oakland Athletics. In a time where home run hitting is high, strikeouts are high, and .300 hitters are rare, Davis has gone 0 for his last 49 (as of Tuesday afternoon). This record replaces the one set by Eugenio Velez. Velez from 2010-2011 went 0 for 46. Now, Chris Davis has the record to himself. Davis has not recorded a hit since September 14, 2018, a double off White Sox starter James Shields. Since then, nothing but frustration. However, unlike the many people who want the Orioles to rip off the band-aid and cut him now, Baltimore has nothing to lose in keeping him.
First off, the money is huge. Chris signed a seven-year, $161 million deal that keeps him in Baltimore through the 2022 season. This contract is the largest in Orioles history and right now the largest albatross. Albert Pujols’ contract has been laughed at for years, but in 2018, Pujols provided more oWAR than Davis. Pujols’ was at 0.2 (which is not very high) and Davis went -2.5 (ouch). Somehow, even the 32-year-old Davis, who is younger than the 39-year-old Pujols, performed worse defensively in dWAR. (Pujols -0.5, Davis -1.0). Since the ginormous contract was signed, the Orioles have paid Davis $69 million for 0.8 offensive WAR and -2.5 defensive WAR. In the same stretch, the Angels have paid Pujols $78 million for 0.2 oWAR and -3.6 dWAR.
Some of this comes into your head, and it’s clear Davis is frustrated. Davis does not want to be booed off the field by 20,000 or more people daily. It sucks, because the average fan is paying lots of money to see him home runs. It has to be eating at him mentally to spend every day wondering what is going on. Most fans feel really bad for him, the educated ones anyway. It is something that once he gets the schneid broken, will help enormously. Knowing he can get hits will help him and will clear his mind.
That said, the Orioles are a long distance from competing. By the time the Orioles should be competitive again, Davis will be but a memory of a poor contract. The team has two first basemen by trade, Davis and Trey Mancini. Mancini is on pace to be traded for prospects eventually. No one is acquiring the Davis contract. Not for all the money he is still owed. The Orioles should eventually cut him, but now is not the time. Anthony Santander is the only person at AAA Norfolk who can play first base. Preston Palmeiro is at AA Bowie. That is it. So, there is no reason.
The Orioles should not cut Chris Davis. Most educated fans and writers feel really bad for him. His teammates feel for him, and that is where it matters. Once he gets some hits, we won’t talk about it anymore.
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