BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Orioles are one week into Spring Training 2018. It’s been a busy time but there’s still a lot of work to be done, both for individuals and for the team. One individual that is standing out is Chris Davis, the first baseman and big slugger, with the nickname, “Crush,” who wants to crush any lingering doubts about his abilities.
He comes to work carrying a big bat and a heavy burden. Chris Davis is the highest paid player on the Orioles roster but he has not been living up to his $160 million contract. So Davis is at work in Spring Training to get back to hitting the way that earned him such a big payday. He takes full responsibility for how his failures have affected the team.
“The last couple of years for me, personally, were extremely disappointing, you know,” said Davis. “And I think if this team is going to be where we want to be, you know, I definitely have to be a better player. Have to be a little bit more productive and kind of get back to some of the things that I’ve done in the past that have made me successful.”
Davis says his struggles were completely mental and that’s the burden he wants to unload. Big money can bring big pressure. Davis says he’ll deal with it.
“The pressure is, you know, really what you allow it to be,” said Davis. “I mean, you know, we play a professional sport for a living and in the eye of the public, every day, so I mean, you have to embrace it, you have to understand that it’s going to be there.
Davis wasn’t the only Oriole to struggle during their last place finish. Mark Trumbo’s production was way down too and the pitching staff was the worst in the league. Buck Showalter, the team manager, says it’s a reminder that it takes an entire team to succeed and anything less isn’t good enough.
“There’s some guys that had really good years last year,” said Showalter. “Some great things happened, you don’t have to throw that all out, but if the team didn’t function as well as expectations were for us, for ourselves, you know, we’re trying to consistently raise the bar here. It wasn’t okay.”
The Orioles play their first intrasquad game here in Sarasota, Florida on Wednesday.