Seven years, 161 million dollars.
No, that’s not the amount of time and money Orioles fans will need to spend in therapy to forget the abysmal start to the 2018 season. Instead, it’s a sentence that will haunt Orioles fans for years to come. It’s the worst contract in team history. One that has truly handcuffed the present-day Birds, and will all-but guarantee the loss of Manny Machado, the best talent in recent Orioles history, to leave town this offseason.
Seven years, 161 million dollars.
Chris Davis so far this season? .164/.274/.274 2 HR, 26 K in 73 AB’s.
In nearly 1100 at-bats since signing his record deal in the winter following the 2015 season, Davis has hit to a .214 average, nearly .030 below his free-falling career average. Now, much of Davis’ contract is deferred to future years, but he’s set to earn 17 million for his work on the field this season.
The Orioles are 6-17 and own the American League’s second-worst record as we sit about 15% through the baseball season. If you’re looking for a little Tuesday morning pick-me-up, this next post is probably not for you. Chris Davis has already made over 2.5 million dollars this season as he continues to post strikeout numbers with the best of them.
2.5 million dollars. 2 home runs. You do the math.
Having a consistent power bat in the middle of their potent lineup was what the Orioles paid Davis the big bucks for, but Davis’ inability to put the ball in play has been a major factor in the lack of production from the team’s offense the last two seasons.
#orioles lose again 2-1. 11 of 13. Now 6-17. They’ve been held to 1 run or fewer in 7 games and 2 runs or fewer in 10.
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) April 24, 2018
In the first year of his new deal, Davis had a WAR of 3.3. This was mostly due to the fact that Davis had a defensive WAR of 3.0, little to do with his league leading 219 strikeouts. Since then, Crush has posted a negative WAR in 2017 and 2018, -0.1 and -0.3 in each respective season, In that same time, his payroll number is over 25 million dollars.
According to a really interesting FanGraphs article that attempts to put a dollar figure associated with a players’ generated wins on the field, Davis would have made 8.7 million per WAR in the 2015 off-season. So the only time that Davis truly “earned” the money the Orioles have paid him was in 2016, and that was primarily due to his efforts on defense. Since then, Davis is vastly overpaid, costing the Orioles both financially and saber-metrically.
Orioles fans have seemed to have given up on Davis, constantly calling for their once adored slugger to bunt against the all-to familiar shift teams use against him. Things could get worse, as Davis is still owed 68 million dollars over the next four full seasons, and won’t be a free agent until 2023.
Personally, I’m becoming fearful that Davis’ contract will rival that of former-Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. The Phillies signed Howard to a similar 125 million dollars over 1900 at-bats, with just 79 HR to show for it. Howard physically fell apart, unlike Davis, which makes Davis’ fall from grace even that more astounding.
Davis’ streakiness has been evident throughout his Orioles career. Even at his peaks, he was either red-hot or ice-cold. This cold stretch, however, has been going on for a season and a half, and his price tag is a not-so friendly reminder to Orioles fans about what could have been.
Manny Machado’s looming free agency is all the buzz around Camden Yards, and the team is presumably out of the running already. We can only hope Dan Duquette and Brady Anderson’s decision to out-bid themselves for Davis won’t lead to Machado in pinstripes, haunting the Orioles for years to come. Similar to that phrase: seven years, 161 million dollars.