Chris Davis on the state of the Orioles: buying, selling, rebuilding, winning, staying - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Chris Davis on the state of the Orioles: buying, selling, rebuilding, winning, staying

Oftentimes during the various trade deadlines over the years, I have gone to center fielder Adam Jones to get his take on where the Orioles are and what he thinks should be done with his club.

Jones, after all, is the longest-tenured Oriole, and one of the more thoughtful and outspoken members of the team. His opinion is always welcomed.

But this year I wanted to switch it up a little (though I’ll always hit record when Jones is willing to speak) and asked another Oriole about the state of the team, and what could — and should — be done.

To me, the other guy I wanted to talk to was first baseman Chris Davis.

While the contracts of Jones, Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, Darren O’Day and Chris Tillman – the core of this club’s recent success – all expire after the 2019 season or earlier, Davis is signed through the 2022 season.

When he agreed to a seven-year, $161 million deal before the 2016 season, Davis and the Orioles were committing to a long-term marriage. Not only was it a huge payday, but it also provided stability for Davis, who in 2011, was one of those “prospect types” that was shipped away by the Texas Rangers in the middle of a pennant race to a rebuilding Orioles’ franchise.

Now, no Oriole veteran is tied to the future fate of this franchise more than Davis. And, with the club at an obvious crossroads, with the selling off of quality veterans for unproven prospects a legitimate possibility this month, I wanted Davis’ take on the state of the Orioles.

ADVERTISEMENT

I’ve spoken to him plenty of times about his offensive struggles, about what he feels he needs to do personally to help this team be better. I wanted the bigger picture now.

This is what he had to say, in a Q&A form, edited only for clarity.

The Orioles look like they’ll be sellers, which could net them quality prospects but also ship away some of your long-time teammates and start a potential rebuild. What are your thoughts on that possibility?  

“I am obviously for anything that puts us in the best position to win. With that being said, it is tough, as a guy that’s been around this team — pretty much the same team for a number of years — it’s still tough to think about some of your buddies being gone. But I think you understand it is part of the business. I hope guys realize how fortunate they are to get to play with this group of guys on a daily basis. The fact that we have been able to keep the same group together for such a long time I think is pretty incredible. But, ultimately, I want to win baseball games. That was one of the big reasons why I signed here. I felt like this team was on the very cusp of being a World Series caliber team. I mean, I want to win baseball games. It’s not fun losing.”

The rotation has struggled most of the year, yet this is also a very similar club to the 2016 one that made the playoffs? Do you think that can be repeated with this pitching staff?

“I think there are a lot of similarities between this team and the team last year. But it’s always going to come down to pitching. You watch the postseason every year and you don’t see 15-14 games. … You see 3-2 or 3-1. We’re in the age of the bullpen, where guys are being used in the sixth inning. There’s less required from a starter in some aspects as far as pitch counts and distance or depth in a game. But, yeah, something’s not clicking here on a consistent basis. I think that’s probably the best way to put it. I mean, for us to be as good as we have been the last three nights or four nights (before Friday), and to struggle the way we did for the last couple of months, there has to be a little more consistency on a daily basis.”

You were traded by a contender in a deadline deal in 2011, and joined a young team that ultimately flourished, so do you see the value in that philosophy?

“I think when I look back to the years that I was in Texas and being part of a winning team, even when I wasn’t playing every day, even when I was being sent down and called up, just knowing that I was going to be on a team that was competitive and had a chance to win the division and play in the postseason, it was exciting to me. Once you get a taste of that, as a player you want that every year and that becomes your expectation. And that was one of the reasons I said what I did this offseason, that we raised the bar. It’s not that we expect ‘X’ number of wins or we expect to beat teams by 10 runs. It’s the expectation that we have put on ourselves to go out and win 85 or 90 games, whatever it is that it takes to win the division or get into the postseason. Because that’s where we’ve been the last few years. As far as I’m concerned, there’s one more hurdle to get over and that’s to win the World Series. And (the question is) ‘How are we going to go about doing that?’”

Do you think this team, with its current roster, can win a World Series?

“I think it can be done with this team. I do believe that. Because I think when you look back to the end of the season last year, you see the way that Dylan (Bundy) and Gaus (Kevin Gausman) and even Ubie (Ubaldo Jimenez) were throwing the ball. It was pretty special. I remember when Ubaldo threw the complete game, I’m like, ‘This is awesome. Good for you, good for us.’ And, so, I definitely think that it’s doable. But I think the margin for error is extremely, extremely slim. Especially with what Boston has done in the offseason. The Yankees are reloading, they are young but that youth is starting to gain some experience. This is a dogfight, dude. This division is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It really is. To win this division, you have to be good and you have to be almost mistake-free.”

If management asked you which way they should go this month, what would you say?

“I’m in the mind-frame, let’s win now. Five years may seem like a long time, but it’s not if you start talking about rebuilding an entire organization. I remember the first couple years in Texas, we were trying to finish in third place. When you’ve been successful and you’ve been so close, it’s really, really hard to start over in my mind, as a player.”

It is possible by 2019, you are the only core member of this current roster still remaining here. Have you thought about that?

“Yeah. That thought crossed my mind when I started looking at the length of my contract, started looking to see who was left, how much time they all had on their contracts. Yeah that was something that crossed my mind (when he signed in 2016). But, ultimately, my goal is to win the World Series. It’s like what I went through last year (physically with an injured hand). I was grinding it out. I wasn’t having a great year by any means, but I knew it was important to my teammates. And it was better for our team if I was on the field, whether that was with two good hands or one good hand. That’s where I’m at in my career, you know.”

If the Orioles decide to stand pat, not trade, and gain a Wild Card berth, is that a success?

“Honestly, it’s really hard to go through the Wild Card. We’ve seen both sides of it, winning the one in 2012 and obviously losing last year. It’s a free-for-all in that one game. And I think it can take a lot of you. I thought in 2012 we were really playing well. I thought that we had built up some momentum and some steam rolling into the postseason, but then I felt like we ran out of gas in that series against New York. It’s an exhausting journey to go through that one game playoff because there are so many unknowns that go into it. Where is it gonna be? Who is it gonna be against? Are you gonna play at home? … Yeah you start with a clean slate in the postseason, but a lot of it, too, is how you can roll into the postseason You think about 2014, we won the division by so many games that it was like our destiny was set (early) and so you have time to recover and prepare and then go into that.”

You content being on this side of the business and not being in executive vice president Dan Duquette’s role this month?

“Absolutely. Yeah, I get to have a little fun. He gets to make all the hard decisions. This game is frustrating as a player, as a general manager, as a manager, as an owner. I can’t even begin to put myself in Mr. Angelos’ shoes. I mean, to see the organization go through what it has gone through, there’s a sense of pride. But I’ve only been here for so little of that journey. Yeah, I’m glad I’m on this side.”

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. ATCguy

    July 22, 2017 at 9:59 am

    You know, no offense, but I had a $161-mil contract… sure I may miss my teammate & friends, and sure I’d wanna win… but they could put me on a field with 8-yr olds, and I’d be ok with it. Because, as he said, it’s a business. The only reason he (or any of them) is there is money… and he’s set for life. That’s what we all aspire to have…financial security for life.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

      You say that. And I understand the point. It’s more money then we can comprehend. But he was getting a huge deal wherever he landed. He already was a multi-millionaire. You really think you — him or anyone — would be content in any situation just because of the cash? Face value, sure. Big picture, nope.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      First off ATC … I appreciate your efforts in keeping us all safe in the skies on a daily basis … but I have to disagree with you on this one.
      I don’t believe for a second that Davis is OK with the status quo simply because of the money. After all .. have you seen his wife?

      Seriously though, I think most of us would play the game baseball for meal money if we had the talent … and if these guys had no other choice … they would as well. Do we the fans pay $50+ to sit in the seats sweating our butts off simply because we like to spend the money? Heck no … it’s fun. Baseball is fun dang it. It brings out the 12 year old boy in us. Chris Davis is no different.

  2. Elmerfudd6481

    July 22, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I don’t think you go to rebuild mode

    • Dan Connolly

      July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

      It’s definitely a consideration tho

  3. Osfan73

    July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Godd stuff here….two things-
    First I disagree this current roster can win a world series. Need a stronger rotation and some addition of speed into the lineup to add another type of threat on offense would be great as well.
    Secondly I was pleasantly surprised to see him say that “somethings not clicking here on a consistent basis.” when asked about the starting pitching. That kind of indicates to everyone that they know it’s out there, it’s being noticed and not just glossed over as if no big deal.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 22, 2017 at 10:29 am

      I think there are plenty of read between the lines comments here. But he’s not the kind to point fingers. Especially when he understands his performance is a contributing factor.

  4. Raymo

    July 22, 2017 at 10:20 am

    “… there has to be a little more consistency on a day to day basis.” Wrong. There has to be a LOT more consistency. Not only from the starters, but also from the big contract slugger and the underperforming phenom.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 22, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Like I said in the intro, we’ve talked and I’ve written plenty of times on his thoughts about his struggles. This was more big picture stuff.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    July 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    One things for sure; reading the way he danced around Dan-o’s “is the Wild Card a failure” question, Mr Davis has bright future as a member of the Baltimore city council.

  6. Jacobs1928

    July 22, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    One of the factors affecting the O’s is that the $161 million guy is batting 217 and leading in strike outs….a good example of DD’s poor management.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 22, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      I’m not sure that one is on Duquette. Definitely ownership helped facilitate that deal. At the time many fans were screaming for Davis to be re-signed.

      • Jacobs1928

        July 23, 2017 at 9:18 am

        Dan: We’re there other teams trying to sign him for $161 mil when we did?

  7. Glstem

    July 22, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    when your starters are so up and down you really need to rebuild.

  8. Glstem

    July 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    when you lack speed,terrible defense in the outfield and too many designated hitters you are not a play off team.i go back to 1966 following the Orioles and this is not how you do it.i apologize for my typing old fingers like the Orioles little margin for error.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 22, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      I get it. But they were a playoff team last year with nearly the same group.

  9. Beeb

    July 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    This is a good interview. I find Davis to be one of the most frustrating Orioles to watch. His inability “to pick the ball up” and take so many 3rd called strikes is baffling. I suspect that the analytics on that would be startling.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 22, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Before the injury he was on pace for most Ks looking. But that probably won’t happen now.

  10. woody

    July 22, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Surprisingly pragmatic. Great interview.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top