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.”