Today is the annual off day after the Baltimore Orioles’ home opener. It used to be on a Tuesday back when Opening Day was on a Monday. But I digress. There’s no game today, and the weather reflects that.
In reading my twitter feed during and after yesterday’s game, there’s a lot of angst over Chris Davis. Davis went 0-for-3 in yesterday’s game, and was lifted for a pinch hitter late in the game. A pinch hitter who ended up getting a base hit. For the season, Davis is 0-for-17 with a walk and an RBI (the walk came with the bases loaded).
0-for-17 is tough to fathom in terms of starting the season. Especially when Davis is coming off of a season such as last year. Now anytime I talk about Davis I always throw in the fact that he’s still a good defensive first baseman. And make no mistake that’s an important part of any player’s game. Even in a losing effort, his glove saved a couple of runs at various points in Wednesday’s game at Toronto.
Again, make absolutely no mistake that defense is a massive part of the puzzle in baseball. It’s similar to basketball in that you can be playing terribly on offense, but still playing spectacular defense on the other side of the court. Believe me, I do that all the time myself in my own pickup basketball games! (Let’s be frank; I don’t play spectacular defense, but my D is better than my shooting average!)
That aside, Davis is a liability at the plate. The amount for which the Orioles are on the hook according to his contract is an even bigger liability. I’ve said this before and probably will do so again; if the Orioles were to cut Davis (designate him for assignment), they would still have to pay him the entirety of his contract. Even if someone else picked him up.
In essence, Davis could get DFA’d off the roster, be claimed by another team, and still be on the Orioles’ payroll. MLB contracts are guaranteed; this as opposed to NFL contracts where a player can be cut and owed nothing. So…is it not a poor look for the Orioles to be paying a guy to potentially be playing against them?
But it’s also a poor look for someone to be struggling the way that he is at the plate. The Orioles find themselves in a true Catch-22, given all of this. And again, don’t discount Davis in the field. If he’s no longer in the lineup, you do lose a decent glove in the field.
I’m not sure what the answer is. Maybe a trip to the Injured List might be in play at some point – if Davis’ hamstrings or lateral muscles were to become sore of something along those lines. Mind you, being on the Injured List comes with the potential for a rehab assignment, which can last up to a month. Davis would get at-bats in the minors, allowing him to potentially get some sort of groove back.
Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. Whether anything happens or not remains to be seen. Fact is it’s still early. But something needs to happen.