A Disaster On Camden Street: How Chris Davis Has Ruined the Orioles (Article Archive)

This article is archived from my Baseball News Today that ran for one issue. Enjoy!

In perhaps one of the dumbest moves in history, the Orioles signed Chris Davis to an extension after his 2015 season. Now he's with the Orioles until after the 2022 season, and they are stuck. I have no doubt that Chris Davis will be out of baseball after the 2022 season. He pretty much already is. But this is the story of how Chris Davis has ruined the Orioles.

Chris Davis had always been one of the league's premier power hitters. In 2013, Chris Davis hit 53 HR. And he was getting on base while he was at it, as he had a .370 OBP. OPS+ shows that he was 60% better than the average player. 2014 was a bad year for Davis, as he was below average when it came to OPS+. But in 2015 he rebounded, hitting an AL Leading 47 HR with a .361 OBP. He was a great player, or so it seemed at the time.

In the offseason, the Orioles made the mistake of signing Davis to a 7 year, $119 million contract. 2016 was the last year that Davis would bring positive value to the Orioles. He slashed .221/.332/.459 with 38 HR. He struck out a league leading 219 times. He was 10% better than the average hitter, and he was expected to rebound in 2017. In 2017, Davis slashed .215/.309/.423 with only 26 HR. In 456 AB, he struck out a whopping 195 times. He just wasn't good, and he was going to have to be on the team for 5 more years. 2018 was a make or break year for the Orioles, and he broke. He broke bad.

In 470 AB in 2018, Chris Davis slashed .168/.243/.296 with 16 HR. He struck out 197 times. He was 51% worse than the average hitter, and he brought negative value to the team. His contract was dragging on, and 2019 wasn't much better. In 2019, Davis slashed .179/.276/.326 with 12 HR. The season didn't start well, as he had a streak of 54 consecutive AB with no hits. That's horrible. Just horrible.

So what happened? To tell you the truth, I don't know. I really don't know.

Chris Davis's contract means that the Orioles, a relatively low budget team, don't have any money to spend. The Orioles are stuck with Davis for 3 more years, and they can't sign any free agents for the same amount of time. The Orioles are stuck with Chris Davis.


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