Chris Davis talks about his health, retirement thoughts and Orioles' rebuild - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Chris Davis talks about his health, retirement thoughts and Orioles’ rebuild

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Chris Davis says that “unique is a very good word for what we went through” to describe the 60-game 2020 baseball season,

Davis, who is the Orioles’ players representative, played in only 16 games, batting just .115 (6-for-52) with one RBI.

“For me, personally, it’s been a lot of trying to figure out what’s going on physically,” he said in a video conference call on Wednesday. “Trying to find answers, trying to find out what I can do to get back to 100 percent physically, being ready to start the next season injury-free and not worrying about anything. I’ve done a lot of rehab, here, not too far from where I live, and a lot of just physical therapy as far as my left knee and hip and ankle are concerned …

“Really, I think I’m still kind of going through everything that we just went through and gearing up for maybe having to do something like that again in the next few months.”

Davis, 34, had two stints on the 10-day injured list because of left patella knee tendinitis.

The first baseman discusses his status at the end of each season with his wife, Jill. In the past, Davis, who has two years left of his seven-year, $161 million contract, has acknowledged that they talked about retirement. That’s not the case now.

“We are both 100 percent committed to being in Sarasota, whenever that might be,” Davis said. “Whether that’s in a few months or whenever it is.”

The Orioles are scheduled to begin spring training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Florida on February 16th, when pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report.

“As far as I’m concerned, still being ready to play 162 games, 150, how ever many games, and ready to be the everyday first baseman,” Davis said. “I know that’s changed a little bit in some people’s minds, but in my mind, I can’t [feel] like it’s doing me any favors to go into it thinking I’m anything other than that.”

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Davis said that the conditions of the shortened season reinforced his desire to play again.

“Because of everything that went on this past year, I don’t feel like it was a legitimate shot at a full season for me,” he said. “Obviously, not a full season as far as the number of games was concerned. In some ways, it was almost like more than a full season with everything I had to do to keep up physically and mentally over the break and going through all those multiple hour-long calls, trying to get things together with the league, so that we could have a season. I didn’t feel like I got a fair shake, as far as this season was concerned.

“I just think that there are too many doors left open for me to walk away,” Davis said.

Davis thinks he can be a productive player in 2021, despite declining numbers. He hit .168 in 2018 and .179 in 2019.

“I think the most discouraging thing for me this past season was when we restarted,” Davis said. “… I knew physically that I wasn’t 100 percent. I knew that I wasn’t even close to where I was when we started the first spring training. In my mind, I felt like I had to at least give it a shot, given the results that I saw early in the first spring.”

In Grapefruit League games, Davis, who had added muscle during the offseason, hit .409 (9-for-22) with three home runs, nine RBIs and 10 walks.

“That was probably the most taxing thing, physically, mentally, emotionally, just to kind of wear that. I think the biggest thing for me so far has kind of been to get away from everything. Obviously, I have to get back to 100 percent health, which I feel like I’m doing. For me, I really think it’s just taking a step back and taking a break.

“I’ve been really grinding, especially in the offseason the last couple of years. I think it’s taken a toll on me. I’ve talked to several guys who have gone through similar things in their careers, and pretty much everybody’s said the same thing—maybe it’s just time to take a step back and take a deep breath and get back after it after the beginning of the year, whenever it is.”

Davis has watched as the Orioles continue to make moves, shedding veterans as it tries to build a talent base with younger players.

“It’s tough to know what to make of it right now,” he said. “There’s no doubt that we’re in a rebuilding phase and, personally, I wonder where that rebuild is headed.

“Are we talking a complete rebuild? Are we talking we’re going to try to start things over from scratch and only have younger players, players that this new regime has drafted, that they’ve brought in, that they’ve brought up.

“I think that they’re trying to get the most of the guys that they have now and sometimes that means you have to lose some of the guys that have been productive for you. That’s the tough thing about being an older player in the situation that I’m in. A lot of times the moves that are made are going to affect the team in a more positive way when you’re not on the team.”

He said that executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, assistant general manager Sig Mejdal and manager Brandon Hyde “have a pretty good idea of what they’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes, it doesn’t look like you think it would.”

Notes: In recent minor league signings, right-handed pitcher David Hess agreed to a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. signed with the Cincinnati Reds … Al Michaels, of NBC Sports, was named the Ford Frick Award winner for excellence in baseball broadcasting … Dick Kaegel, who long covered the Kansas City Royals for the Kansas City Star and MLB.com, won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing. Michaels and Kaegel will be honored during the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction weekend in Cooperstown, New York on July 25-26, 2021.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    December 10, 2020 at 7:06 am

    Gotta be something better to write about…go O’s…

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 10, 2020 at 8:57 am

    “There’s no doubt that we’re in a rebuilding phase and, personally, I wonder where that rebuild is headed.”

    .

    We all wonder where it’s headed Chris.

  3. Birdman

    December 10, 2020 at 9:34 am

    It wasn’t Davis’ “left patella” that turned him into the worst hitter in all of MLB for the past three seasons.

  4. Shamus

    December 10, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Davis is a BUM…. but he’s a smart and rich BUM

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 10, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Smart? Are you kidding me? Have you ever heard this guy speak?

  5. Tony Paparella

    December 10, 2020 at 9:44 am

    A lot of criticism of the guy for not leaving the game.Nobody in their right mind will walk away from 46 million dollars when all you do is have to show up and play baseball. Nobody on here,or anywhere, would walk away from that kind of money.No doubt he is embarrassed and believes he can rebound enough so that he can leave on a more positive note. Though it seems like he keeps digging himself a deeper hole each year you can’t fault him as the Orioles can make a decision anytime they want.And as far as jumping on some of his comments I figure if you stick a mike in anyones face enough times something is going to come out sounding wrong.He understands everything that is going on and I give him credit for expressing himself when asked to do so.I cannot ever recall a ball player in this situation, and though it is becoming totally repetitive both in words and performance, the ball is actually in the hands of Oriole management.

    • willmiranda

      December 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Have to agree with your summation, Tony. I also think that his continuation as the team’s player rep says there’s more about his value to the team and his teammates than some of us can see.

      • Birdman

        December 10, 2020 at 10:50 am

        I suspect Davis’ continuation as Player Rep likely results from the fact that the Orioles are a team full of players with little MLB experience, and the young players are simply inclined to defer to a veteran to deal with Players Association matters … don’t think it really says anything about his “value” to the team.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          December 10, 2020 at 11:23 am

          He also speaks English.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 10, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Tony … no doubt I’d hang around for the remainder of the contract.

  6. PrayinForReign

    December 10, 2020 at 9:51 am

    I have four words for Chris Davis if he’s truly “100% committed to Sarasota” in 2021 – LEARN HOW TO BUNT!

  7. Orial

    December 10, 2020 at 10:52 am

    2021 Chris Davis solution–play him on/off for 10 games put him on 60 day IL,play him another 10 games on/off and again put him on the 60 day IL. And on and on. Pay him to sit on bench or pay to go home–what’s the difference,really? Btw other than some character opinions Davis is a REAL nice guy.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 10, 2020 at 11:25 am

      No doubt he is but nice guys finish last in the batting race.

  8. WorldlyView

    December 10, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Rich, as seen in the comments above, the natives are getting very restless. Maybe you should act on my (semi-serious) suggestion of yesterday that you get us a teleconference with Mr. Elias. Our wise insights might set him on the straight and narrow and should help to calm our growing frustrations with management.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 10, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Send Mike my best, Steve.

  9. WorldlyView

    December 10, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    No, I won’t. But what I will do is hurl some hardball questions at him the likes of which he has never gotten from the media. Some of us have been bleeding orange and black since before this interloper was born.

    • CalsPals

      December 11, 2020 at 6:51 am

      :)…go O’s…

    • VICTORTEE

      December 11, 2020 at 8:14 am

      I am one of them. I have been an O’s fan since 1966.

      I also have perspective since I am a Braves fan too. I see that a rebuild can be done by a method other than “Tankers R Us”.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 12, 2020 at 7:33 pm

        VT … there can be only one true love. I’m disappointed in you. Braves ….sheeeesh.

    • CalsPals

      December 11, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Same yr for me Vic, saw my first game w/ my grandma that summer, a million different ways to rebuild, unfortunately when they chose Elias this was the type of rebuild he chose, probably the only one he knows, not making excuses, love the Braves way…wish they’d chosen a better model…go O’s…

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