Elias says Orioles are working with Chris Davis and Scott Boras on 2020 improvement - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Winter Meetings Coverage

Elias says Orioles are working with Chris Davis and Scott Boras on 2020 improvement

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SAN DIEGO—The Orioles continue to devote time and resources to try to revive Chris Davis’ batting stroke.

Earlier on Tuesday, Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, said he spoke with the Orioles about the slugger, who hit just .168 and struck out 192 times in 128 games in 2018 and continued to struggle last year, batting .179 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 105 games.

“I did talk to Scott last week and I talked to a member of his team that’s sort of health and player performance-oriented for their group,” general manager Mike Elias said.

“We just want to make sure we’re coordinated in the plan for him this winter and making sure that Chris and the Boras Corporation and the Orioles all have an understanding of what we want to get accomplished.

“It sounds like we are, but being that Chris spends the winter in Dallas, we don’t necessarily have the same people and same resources available to him that he has when he’s with the Orioles’ organization.”

Davis was in Baltimore in early November to announce a $3 million donation to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. At that time, Davis said he wasn’t convinced that going to a private hitting school was the right direction for him.

“We’ve talked about it,” he said. “They basically left it in my hands. They said, if this is something you want to do, we’ll do everything we can to help. I’m 33. I’ll be 34 in March … I’m on the backside of my career. I don’t think there’s going to be a massive swing overhaul where I’m changing mechanically. That’s not going to happen.

“I’ve had success in my career several times hitting the way that I do. There are definitely things that I can fix, and I think that’s the page we’re all on.”

Elias pointed out that the Orioles have sent Cedric Mullins and Chance Sisco to hitting schools, and they’re working with Davis to find a system that works for both parties.

“We’re trying to figure out how to replicate a lot of those things in Dallas and a lot of that is going to involve our people periodically flying out there and checking on him, but also setting him up with similar people in Texas,” Elias said.

“The offseason goes quick, so once a month really takes us … that’s the plan, but that takes us into January and we’re talking about maybe reporting early for spring training or something like that, so it’s really not that much. But we do plan on having a couple of our guys checking with him on a monthly basis.”

Davis, who has three years remaining on his seven-year $161 million contract is still owed $93 million by the Orioles, including $42 million of deferred money.

Boras and Elias met last year, too, but the GM was new to the Orioles, and Brandon Hyde hadn’t officially been named manager.

“I think now that Brandon and I have been here a year and have experience here with Chris — we have a lot more feel for the situation,” Elias said. “Obviously, there was still some hope last year that 2018 was a little bit of an aberration and that new people, new environment, might have some effect and here we are again at the end of 2019.

“So we just want to … the message is the same, that we all have to figure out a way for him to get better. But we want to try some different specific things or some tweaks specifically to aspects of his program.”

In his annual Winter Meetings media session, Boras said that he was concerned about Davis’ performance.

“I’m always concerned when a player’s not performing to the level of his ability,” Boras said. “I’ve already had talks with the organization and levels of my staff have had talks with the organization. We’ve been in communication with CD. Always trying to garner an approach and an improvement of his performance.”

Elias said that he’s comfortable working with Boras and other agents.

“We have these types of collaborations with agents all the time,” Elias said.

“I think you guys heard this winter that for instance we had Mullins and Sisco work with some private swing coaches, so this is the type of thing that’s definitely growing in our business and it’s in everyone’s best interest for players to get better.

“This is one area where teams and agents are on the same page, keeping them healthy and having them play well and so, yeah, this is something we do. But the Boras Corporation is a large agency, they’ve got a lot resources at their disposal and they’re good in this area, so it makes sense to plug in with them.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Eastern Sho Joe

    December 10, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    How sad is this? He shouldn’t care if he’s 33 or 53, he should welcome and pursue anything that will help him get better. He should not only do it for himself, but for his team.

    I’m livid that reps from the Orioles have to visit him in Texas. He has 3 daughters, I wonder if they will be proud when they come to the age that they understand (if they’re not there already) that their dad was the highest paid player on his team but sat the bench?

    As for Boras, O’s reporters should be burning his phone up asking for comments on why a player he represents isn’t supportive about getting help to get better.

    Chris Davis should be ashamed of himself.

  2. Birdman

    December 10, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    So Davis says he won’t make mechanical changes, but there are definitely things he can “fix” … what is he talking about?

    • Eastern Sho Joe

      December 10, 2019 at 11:01 pm

      I thought that too. He should become the poster-child for why large guaranteed contracts are bad for baseball. Maybe something like minimum performance clauses, I don’t know but this ain’t cool.

      There’s a video on YouTube titled “Chris Davis – My Story” that showed me a lot about him. He talks about taking Adderall, failing the test but kept taking it anyway. POS.

      There’s another video with him getting crushed in a homerun derby against an internet baseball comedian named Domigo Ayala. I actually like this one.

      • Bancells Moustache

        December 11, 2019 at 12:10 pm

        There is no shame in being defeated by Domingo, greatest beisbol player in the world. Whatchu semipro, mang?

        • Eastern Sho Joe

          December 11, 2019 at 5:59 pm

          lol, you’re right, no shame in getting beat by Domingo, but it was so bad that Domingo bunted like 3-4 times for outs before he even started swinging. It was classic. lol. btw, you got me, I am semipro, down there with the coach’s son. lol

  3. CalsPals

    December 11, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Funny that Boras says he doesn’t like when his clients don’t perform, but really offers up nothing about how they’re addressing it…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 11, 2019 at 7:54 am

      He’s a lawyer dammit … not a coach! Besides … he’s still getting his cut, so really, why should he care?

    • CalsPals

      December 11, 2019 at 8:00 am

      Agree, he’s just playing the game…go O’s…

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 11, 2019 at 7:50 am

    It warms my heart that Elias “has a better feel for the situation”, regarding Chris Davis this year. He was hoping that 2018 was an “aberration and that new people, new environment, might have some effect and here we are again at the end of 2019”.

    Yup Mike, here we are again …. what a load of BS. And it still flows downhill .. all the way to the fans and their pockets. Somebody has to pay, but evidently, it ain’t going to be Angelos family.

    This is an obvious tell as to the real power Elias has within the organization, which is to say, not as much as everyone around here seems to give him credit. Otherwise, why the heck are we still talking about Chris Davis? If we’re really all about purge & rebuild … Crush would have been the 1st to go, regardless of the remaining $$ in salary still owed. Mike Elias certainly didn’t need “a better feel for the situation” … he sees the writing on the Crush Davis wall…it’s just that evidently, he can’t do anything about it.

    • Birdman

      December 11, 2019 at 8:15 am

      Yes, I can’t imagine that Elias and Hyde actually want Davis on the Orioles roster. It certainly appears that, with respect to Davis, the shots are being called entirely by ownership.

  5. deqalt

    December 11, 2019 at 8:06 am

    I am soooo tired of hearing about Chris Davis ” working on things”. He seems like personally great, but goodness enough already. It doesn’t bother me he is still on the roster, because during this rebuild he is not keeping someone else from playing. Once this team is ready to start service time on several players then maybe eat it, but right now he is not keeping anyone from playing.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 11, 2019 at 8:10 am

      He’s wasting a roster spot on the 40 man. Isn’t that enough? He’s also one less bat on the bench.

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 11, 2019 at 8:08 am

    I should have prefaced my previous comment on what a great article this was Rich. Obviously, you’re burning the midnight oil at these winter meetings. Thanks for giving us some Orioles news to read about this off-season.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 11, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Thank you, Ken.

  7. deqalt

    December 11, 2019 at 8:23 am

    I agree great article Rich thank you. I dunno in this climate how he is wasting a spot. He is one less bat on the bench for what???? There going to lose 100 games. in 2020 it’s simply not going to matter. 2021 hopefully another story

    • Camden Brooks

      December 11, 2019 at 8:32 am

      He is keeping Trey in the outfield, where he doesn’t really belong. The organization does have young OF talent that will need playing time to continue developing, and CD’s situation with the team isn’t helping in that regard. I’ve always liked Davis, and I’m hoping he can improve this year. If not, the tough call needs to be made sooner rather than later IMHO. But again, it isn’t my $$ being spent.

      • deqalt

        December 11, 2019 at 8:38 am

        There are no young OF ready in April to play, They don’t want to start service time as long as possible. Trey playing 1st or OF doesn’t really matter right now. If you cut Chris Davis you have to spend more money to replace his roster spot. With or without him will have zero impact for 2020.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 11, 2019 at 9:26 am

      OK Deqalt … let me try to answer your question as I see it.

      So it’s the bottom of the 9th … game tied…O’s up with 2 outs….runners in scoring position, and I’ve stayed up well past my bedtime because we’re actually in the freakin’ game for a change!

      Right handed relief pitcher comes in, and our only left-handed pinch hitter on the bench is …. drum roll please … Crush Davis. Result, called strike 3 and we go into extra innings which is WAAAAAAY past my bedtime with the likely result another of 110 losses. This is why I’d rather see just about ANYBODY on our bench besides Whiff Davis.

      Oh well, I guess we would have lost anyway. WHAT A BUNCH OF LOSERS are on this website that we simply accept not trying to field a major league team and win one stinkin’ extra game and get me to bed on time with a win in my dreams. I don’t understand Baltimore fans anymore. Have we no pride?

      That’s why he’s a waste of a spot in the lineup. That’s why it matters.

      • deqalt

        December 11, 2019 at 9:32 am

        Boog!!!! I don’t agree with this tanking or rebuild stuff. We SHOULD be filling a roster that can compete. All this losing is crap!!! That being said, if we are going to do this rebuild either do it all the way or not at all. Yes we would lose anyway because of what they are doing. What the heck do I care if we lose 100 games or 90 its all the same. I want to compete for the American East Pennant… The culture that its okay to tank is horrible! We are a National joke right now. I am angry that this team is okay with losing.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          December 11, 2019 at 9:52 am

          I obviously misunderstood your post. But really, I’d really rather lose 105 than 106. You’re right, Crush isn’t going to make a large difference, but I’d rather see one more win if that’s all the difference his absence would make.

          My apologies if I personally offended.

          • deqalt

            December 11, 2019 at 11:11 am

            No offense!!! We both love the Orange and Black!

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 11, 2019 at 9:44 am

      Thank you, Deqalt.

  8. Fareastern89

    December 11, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Last season, the O’s winning percentage with Davis in the lineup last was almost exactly the same as it was when he was not in the lineup. That doesn’t take into account a host of other variables, but it does provide some evidence that his presence really didn’t matter very much. Nor will it next season, if he stays around. The only person he might be blocking is Mountcastle, and with the 26-man roster the O’s can keep both. Let’s see what the summer will bring.

  9. Roenickstein

    December 11, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Sounds like a whole lotta nothin’ going on in the Chris Davis hitting improvement department….again. I don’t really understand how someone can continue to rake in a huge salary with such a pathetic production rate. He’s already made a ton of money. He could walk away with a negotiated buyout, save some face, and walk with his chin up knowing he had a decent career and took care of his family. Yet, that doesn’t ever seem to be an option. I would be embarrassed to go out there every day, striking out 3 or 4 times a game, all the while helping to keep the organization in financial limbo.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 11, 2019 at 9:31 am

      93 million remaining goes a long way to soothing embarrassment. I don’t blame him one dollar for it. Peter Angelos signed that contract.

  10. willmiranda

    December 11, 2019 at 10:23 am

    A couple musings. One, baseball is a union shop. If Davis were to settle for less than his contracted money, he would be failing the brotherhood. Two, I don’t mind his taking up a roster spot because he’d probably be replaced with a Rule 5 pick who isn’t ready for the bigs but was just poached as a prospect from another organization to be sent to the O’s minors the next season.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 11, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Whoever they poached from another team as a rule is more likely than not more major league ready that Davis currently is. Nothing wrong with Rule 5 picks. Anthony Santander is a prime example.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 11, 2019 at 11:36 am

      I also think Martin will return to the O’s at some point. Like Santander, he is a pure athlete.

  11. PA Bird Lover

    December 11, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    We should have kept Davis from signing in Japan. Make a deal with CD to get rid of him. Davis is making the money not earning it. The Angelos family might as well pay him to get rid of him now. Either way, they will pay him. A Rule 5 kid would be a big lift filing Davis’s roster spot.
    AJ had a HOF season in AZ compared to CD. Untie the CD rope and let him stay in Texas to be with his beautiful wife and children.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 11, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      Since a trade is really out of the question, there are really only 2 deals the O’s can make with CD: keep him on the team and pay him, or cut him from the team and pay him.

      • Bancells Moustache

        December 11, 2019 at 1:36 pm

        His “I’ll be 34 this March” sounds like a man who has thought about retirement more than once. Maybe that’s the solution. Elias has no qualms putting a lousy team on the field while he works on the future. Doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that he play hardball with Davis, telling him he either retire and take his money, or he can sit the bench for 162 games, still get his money, and pulverize what little goodwill there remains for him in this town as a 110 loss team takes the field a man short.

  12. Bancells Moustache

    December 11, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Reading between the lines, the “spends the winter in Dallas” seems like an absolute shot over the bow of Davis and BorasCorp. Seems obvious to me that Mr. Elias has already made his assessment of Chris Davis and wants no part of him, but the boys upstairs don’t want to eat the money. I know the player will always think they can turn it around, but how is this guy, knowing what a fool he looks like to the whole world, not sleeping on the couch in Sarasota all winter and trying to salvage something?
    So my question Rich: Is this a power struggle between Boras and the organization, Boras wanting to be able to tell future clients how he fixes players, not teams? We recently saw a nauseating spectacle; a player taking an immediate post World Series interview wearing a BorasCorp cap rather than the team that afforded him a platform to win a Cy Young, play in a World Series and secure a staggering amount of money. Is Davis really just part of a big -you-know-what contest between Major League Baseball and Scott Boras?

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 11, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      No, Bancells. Boras, unlike many agents, is a former professional player, and knows more about the inner workings of baseball. He also has former players on his staff. Fighting against Boras is a losing battle. Let’s move on.

  13. jimcarter

    December 11, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Hopefully this is the last off-season we’re exposed to stories of Davis working on his approach, etc. Wake me when he’s at .250 or above halfway through a season.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 11, 2019 at 7:09 pm

      Heck … wake me if he ever breaks Mendoza …

  14. Borg

    December 11, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    “I’ve had success several times in my career hitting the way I’m hitting…” Big deal-you’ve had failure many MORE times “hitting” the way you’re “hitting”. Davis isn’t a hitter, he’s just somebody taking up both roster space and space in the batter’s box. As long as he is on the roster, anything Elias says regarding rebuilding is as best stretching the truth and at worse an outright lie. Just saving salary so they can continue to pay Davis to look bad at the plate. Great business plan.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 11, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      You’re assuming Elias has been given the authority to cut Davis. It wouldn’t surprise many folks if that isn’t the case.

  15. NormOs

    December 11, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    No matter if he does nothing, he still gets paid. He is now as good as he is going to get. Why do the O’s waste a roster spot on this guy? They have to pay him but they should release him an consider it in “The cost of doing business” and move on.

  16. johninbethany

    December 12, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    “That’s not going to happen”. How sad that Davis said that. He should be willing to do anything to help the club. Yeah, it’s not something that would be fun, but he should be willing to do it since he is still cashing the paycheck.

    Very disappointing.

  17. noto44

    December 13, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Boras does have experience as a player(albeit at “low” A. But to his credit he has become the premier agent (like or not). He is a brilliant man developing Boras Corporation. With that said, Davis has placed the O’s in an unenviable position “eat” the contract or continue to muddle through his downward spiral.
    Boras “got” the O’s and now Baltimore fans must suffer. Would like to see what Davis is doing during the off-season. Work at it and hit again!

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