BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is likely to miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his left hip. The 35-year-old never suited up for the team this season as he suffered a lower back strain in Spring Training that forced him to open the year on the 60-Day Injured List. After a little over a decade with the team, is this how the slugger’s time with the organization ends?
As of right now, Davis has one more year left on the 7-year $161 million extension he signed in 2016. His 2022 salary is set to check in at $21 million and some change according to Spotrac. Just looking at the contract and timetable for return from injury (typically 4-5 months), it’s possible that Davis could return next season for the final year of his deal.READ MORE: Jury Selection Underway In Capital Gazette Newspaper Shooting Case
But, there are a few reasons the team might consider waiving Davis and eating that final year of his deal. The first, and most obvious, is his performance in the last three seasons. We don’t have to rehash the entire history but beginning in 2018, Davis set a new expansion era low for worst batting average among hitters with 500 or more plate appearances when he hit .168 across 128 games for the team.
In 2019, things didn’t get much better as Davis set a MLB record for longest hitless streak on his way to hitting .179 across 105 games. In the shortened 2020 season, he appeared in just 16 games and collected six hits in 52 at bats (.115 average).
Secondly, the team has moved Trey Mancini to first this season and the 29-year-old has played quite well. The likely Comeback Player of the Year is currently second on the team in batting average (.273) and leading in homers (9) and RBI (38). The RBI mark is the most in the majors heading into Thursday. Aside from Mancini, the organization hopes that Ryan Mountcastle, who finished eighth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2020, fully solidifies his spot in the lineup going forward. While he’s struggled out of the gates this year (.220 average 3 HR 16 RBI), there’s hope that he’ll find his previous form.READ MORE: Capitol Riot Suspect Robert Reeder Enters Guilty Plea
Tyler Nevin, acquired from the Colorado Rockies in the Mychal Givens trade, is also in the pipeline. He’s started slow with a .208 average across 14 games for the Norfolk Tides thus far but he’s on the 40-man roster and could reach the majors next season.
All of that is to say, there are several younger players who need playing time with the team who would benefit from Davis’ absence. Now, the Orioles could keep Davis as part of the roster, but that would mean a valuable bench spot for a hitter who hasn’t shown much recently.
If, indeed, this is the end of Davis’ rocky tenure, it must be said that there were many fond memories of Davis in an Orioles uniform. Fans will always remember the 2012, 2013 and 2015 seasons when Davis was among the best sluggers in the league. The 2013 season in particular, when he blasted 53 homers and tallied 138 RBI earning an All-Star appearance, Silver Slugger and third place finish in the MVP voting will live on.MORE NEWS: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, President Joe Biden To Discuss Crime Prevention Wednesday
But, with the team in rebuilding mode and young players beginning to fight for playing time, there may not be a roster spot for Davis next season. Still, he will be receiving deferred payments from the organization through 2037 so the ties between Davis and the franchise will be there for quite a while.