The Baltimore Orioles’ historically bad season has resulted in frustration levels rising among players and fans, and at least one player has outright admitted embarrassment.
Baltimore tied a franchise record on Monday with loss No. 107 on the season (the 1988 Orioles also lost 107 games). With 12 games remaining, a nightmare of a season will soon be over, and the club can begin to focus on how return to winning ways.
Following Monday’s game, first baseman Chris Davis was asked about the 107th loss and said he felt frustration and embarrassment once the club passed the century mark for losses.
“It’s frustrating to say the least,” Davis told MASN Sports. “Once we hit 100, it was kind of like, I don’t know, I honestly didn’t have any words for it. It was embarrassing. It was frustrating. It’s one of those things you never want to be associated with, but at the same time, you’ve got to learn how to turn the page and start somewhere. Why not start now?”
The Orioles got off to an 8-26 start to the season, which put them on pace to lose 124 games. Baltimore won’t reach that number, but the 2018 season will still go down as one to forget around Baltimore.
Unlike other major sports, MLB players who sign big contracts have a rare combination of guaranteed financial security and no league-imposed limit on their earning potential. NBA and NHL contracts are guaranteed, but limited by the salary cap in place. The NFL takes it one step further and doesn’t always offer those guarantees, while also limiting teams with a salary cap. In MLB, not only is the money guaranteed, but there’s only a luxury tax on excessive spending. That means teams sometimes hand out really bad contracts.
The contracts are great for the player, and good for them for getting such a deal, but from a team’s standpoint, the deals can turn out to be the opposite of advantageous.Here are the ten worst contracts in the sport right now, at least from a team perspective.
10) Jason Heyward, Cubs
The Cubs won a World Series with Heyward in the fold, and he still plays high-level defense. Alas, the Cubs owe him another $106 million through 2023, and they probably weren’t planning on paying it to a guy whose primary appeal is his outfield skills. Since joining Chicago in what looked to be the prime of his career, Heyward has hit .253 with just 25 home runs. Of course, to long-suffering Cub fans, maybe that famous team meeting/speech was worth $184 million.
Showalter said he doesn’t expect Davis’ absence to last a week or two, but the Orioles are not putting a timetable on his return. He is available if “the team needs what he can bring” off the bench, though it seemed obvious Showalter would be hesitant to use him.
To say that Davis has been bad this season would be the understatement of the century — the 32-year-old currently holds a negative WAR (-1.9), thanks in large part to his poor performance at the plate. He averaged 37 homers over the last six seasons but has only managed a mere four through 57 games and has struck out 86 times. Meanwhile, Davis’ .150 batting average is by far the lowest among players with at least 200 plate appearances (per Fangraphs).
Things have gotten so bad for Davis that local bars have even begun to offer promotions based around his woes. It’s about time that the Orioles finally came to their senses and gave him some time off to regroup.
Chris Davis’ atrocious 2018 season continues, and now one local bar is seizing the opportunity for a clever (and somewhat sad) promotion.
Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun shared news on Wednesday that Bartenders Pub in Baltimore is now offering free shots for every time that the slumping Orioles slugger gets a hit. The promotion, which was just announced on the bar’s Facebook page this week, will specifically net customers who are present for the hit free Dr. Pepper shooters, which are a mix of amaretto and Miller High Life beer that supposedly tastes like the popular soft drink.
“We’re just trying to give people a reason to come out and watch the games again,” co-owner Danny Coker was quoted as saying.
“It’s a superstition that we hope will encourage [Davis] to do well,” he added.
Unfortunately, Davis and the O’s have not been doing well this season to say the least. The 32-year-old former All-Star, who is only in Year 3 of a massive seven-year, $161 million deal, holds a grisly slash line of .150/.227/.227. Meanwhile, the Orioles are an MLB-worst 19-47 on the year as a team.
For those keeping score at home, Davis has recorded just 31 hits in 57 games so far this year, including going hitless in 32 of them. Thus, the promotion probably won’t cost Bartenders Pub very much, and it is definitely a more wholesome reaction to Davis’ struggles than some of the others we’ve seen.
Chris Davis is pounding his glove after what Baltimore Orioles legend Jim Palmer had to say about him earlier this week.
During an on-air segment for MASN Sports on Wednesday, Palmer, who now works as a color commentator for the team, tore into the slumping Davis. In his remarks, Palmer called out Davis for failing to make adjustments at the plate and said that the former MLB home runs leader was “killing this team.”
On Thursday, Davis took an opportunity to respond to Palmer’s criticisms.
“I was disappointed,” he said, per Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. “Obviously, it bothers me. It’s disappointing that, when things are obviously not going the way that I want, for that to be called into question by guys that I have a lot of trust, have a lot of faith in, I’ve had a good relationship for a number of years.
“I hate that that’s where we are, but at the end of the day, I know the work that I put in in the offseason,” the former All-Star Davis continued. “I know the things that I try to make adjustments on, things that I try to correct, and it’s frustrating for me everyday to come in here every day and not see any return for that. I mean, it’s obvious. The way things are going right now, the last thing I want to hear about is someone within the organization questioning my work ethic. But that’s where we’re at.”
Davis, 32, is having a career-worst year for the 11-34 Orioles, batting a putrid .154 with just four homers and 13 RBIs in 44 games. To make matters worse, he’s only in Year 3 of an increasingly disastrous seven-year, $161 million deal.
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is one of many left-handed power hitters who has been hindered significantly by defensive shifts. This year, however, he sounds intent on trying to counter that strategy.
Davis said Wednesday that he thinks bunting against the shift is a sound strategy — and one he intends to employ as long as the shifting continues.
Davis on bunting: "I’m tired of hitting .200. You’ve got to find a way to combat that and that’s part of the game. If they’re going to give me the entire left side of the infield, then I’m going to make them pay for it." #orioles
Davis hit .215 last year, and his average dipped as low as .196 in 2014, as the shift began to grow more prevalent. His plan certainly makes a lot more sense than the alternative plan cited by those who refuse to adapt to new defensive strategies.
Chris Davis made it pretty clear on Saturday that he’s no fan of Jose Bautista.
Bautista re-signed with the Toronto Blue Jays two weeks ago after going a few months on the free agent market. There was some speculation that the Baltimore Orioles would have interest in Bautista, but that didn’t end up happening.
Instead, Bautista will remain with Baltimore’s AL East rival, and that seems to be just fine with Davis.
Speaking at the Orioles’ FanFest event Saturday, Davis said Bautista is “easy to dislike.”
Orioles Chris Davis at FanFest on Jose Bautista: "He's actually a pretty good dude — said no one ever….He's a guy who's easy to dislike."
Though the remark is pretty shocking, it’s not all that surprising. Recall what the Orioles said to Bautista’s reps in December about why they wouldn’t be signing him (story here).
Bautista is a vocal guy and a good player. He’s the type of icon/leader you want on your side but hate if he’s your opponent because he’s a standout and a bit of a showman. It’s no surprise Davis and Orioles fans aren’t fond of him.
Davis is an interesting signing. He’ll be 30 in March and he’s primarily a home run hitter, so this will likely end up being a bad contract for Baltimore, it’s just a question of how long it takes to go south. It’s even more remarkable considering there was little to no reported interest in Davis outside of Baltimore and he still managed to get premium money anyway.
The Orioles had reportedly pulled their initial offer, but the two sides obviously came back to the table. One would think that this signing takes Baltimore out of the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes, and perhaps those recent stories were leaked to give Davis a bit of a push. If so, it appears to have worked.
It was reported in early December that the Orioles offered Davis a contract in the $150 million range, but a few days later GM Dan Duquette said the team had taken the offer off the table. Perhaps the Orioles were growing tired of waiting to hear from Davis before moving forward and were trying to pressure him to make a decision.
The latest information suggests Baltimore is willing to wait until Davis makes a decision, even if that means foregoing a pursuit of other prominent free agents like Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, and Justin Upton, as Heyman mentioned.
Davis, whose agent is Scott Boras, was said to be seeking a $200 million contract, but this deal from the Orioles may be the best one he gets. The 29-year-old smashed 47 home runs in 2015 while striking out 208 times. In 2013, he crushed 53 home runs and posted a 1.004 OPS. In between he batted .194 in 2014, which is probably what gives him a limited free agency market and high-risk acquisition for some.
Davis has been a mainstay in the middle of the Orioles lineup in recent seasons, leading the league in home runs two times in the last three seasons, and he seems to believe he can get more than the $150 million the Orioles were offering. The team has already been linked to a lesser free agent power hitter in Pedro Alvarez, so it’s apparent that Baltimore is already moving on.