After disappointing year, Davis looking forward

December 4th, 2018

After the front office positions are filled, a manager is hired and his coaching staff solidified, only then will new Orioles general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias' focus shift entirely to his roster.
There have already been changes in this arena, with a free agent, and non-tendered and several glaring holes at positions of need. And there will be more. Turnover continues to be the biggest theme in Baltimore this offseason, from the top down.
The biggest question going forward remains whether or not that turnover will include Chris Davis. At the current moment, Davis appears likely to return despite a disappointing 2018, when he put together one of the worst offensive seasons in Major League history. There are simply few options but to hope for a bounce-back season from Davis, who is owed $92 million through 2022.
Davis himself is adopting a similar mind-set.
"I think a lot of it resetting and starting over," Davis said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio. "For me, it's kind of stepping back, taking a deep breath and realizing there is a little bit different landscape there."
The first baseman remains one of a handful of holdovers from the group that helped Baltimore to playoff appearances from 2015-16. He was one of the few veterans the club was unable to unload at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, given his production and financial attachments.
"Not necessarily from scratch, but a lot of things have changed. We traded away a large portion of our team, we're in a rebuilding phase now and it looks a little different," Davis said. "I guess now I'm the old man in the clubhouse, which is kind of weird, but it's going to be a lot of fun. I think we're going to surprise some people these next couple of years, and hopefully we can turn it around pretty quick."
Elias struck a similar tone when asked about Davis at his introductory press conference, saying, "This lineup is at its best with a productive Chris Davis, a dangerous Davis in the middle of the lineup. I want to see that happen."
But Elias has made little secret of his plans for a thorough rebuild, calling "it a process that doesn't have shortcuts." That could hint at a tough decision looming at some point regarding Davis, who finished 2018 with a .168/.243/.296 line across 522 plate appearances. His batting average was the lowest in baseball history for a player with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title. He is set to earn around $21 million of the Orioles' $77 million on the books for 2019 -- nearly 28 percent of their current projected Opening Day payroll.
Worth noting
The braille jerseys worn by the Orioles during last season's National Federation of the Blind Night raised more than $16,000 for braille literacy and education programs, the club announced Tuesday. The Orioles became the first team in American professional sports history to incorporate braille lettering into their uniforms Sept. 18.