At least three times last September, Showalter told reporters that they shouldn't expect Davis to duplicate his banner 2013 season in which he hit a franchise-record 53 homers, drove in 138 runs and finished third in the American League Most Valuable Player voting. That bar was set just incredibly high, the manager would say.
Showalter was trying to protect his 28-year-old first baseman, trying to make sure that he doesn't put too much pressure on himself or be affected by the other's expectations.
Now it is 2014, Davis is days away from playing games that count. So, with apologies to Showalter, the question has to be asked again: How many home runs and RBIs does Davis think he can compile this year?
"106 homers, 276 RBIs," Davis deadpanned.
Yeah, he's not exactly a ball of stress heading into a new season.
"It was a great year," said Davis, who last season broke Brady Anderson's franchise record of 50 home runs after hitting 33 in 2012. "You can't expect to go out and duplicate it. Once you have shown the ability to do it, obviously, there is the ability to do it again. But my goal is not to go out and hit 50 home runs again. My goal is to do whatever I have to do to get us to the postseason and be productive."
It's the right thing to say. Furthermore, his teammates believe every word of it.
"His expectations are high. You can't hit 53 home runs and not have high expectations. But I think the expectations of winning rank higher, and he knows that. Whatever he does, it's all about the team," center fielder Adam Jones said. "That's the way this clubhouse is though. No one is big-headed in here."
That's not to say the fun-loving Davis isn't mockingly playing the part of self-absorbed superstar.
"Chris Davis won't let success go to Chris Davis' head," Davis said before breaking out into a huge smile.
Davis said this offseason wasn't much different for him. A few more work obligations, perhaps, but nothing he couldn't handle.
"I don't go out a lot. I value the time I get to spend with my family and friends. I am pretty much a homebody," Davis said. "Yeah, there were a few more requests this offseason, but it didn't change who I am or how I live my life."
Davis' baseball profile increased dramatically in the first half of 2013, when he batted .315 with 37 homers, 93 RBIs and an other-worldly 1.109 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He was the leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game and was selected for the Home Run Derby contest.
"What he did last year, you'll probably never see that again," Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley said. "That's about as good of a two- to three-month stretch that I've ever seen from a hitter."
Things slowed down considerably in the second half, however, when Davis batted just .245 while hitting 16 more homers. Teams pitched to him more carefully. He became a little too aggressive when he finally had pitches to hit. And he should expect more challenges this year.
"They are going to pitch him different," Presley said. "He's not going to get those fastballs out over the plate in hitters' counts, and they'll try to throw some breaking balls to him and keep him off balance. And he's going to have to adjust to them."
Davis said he believes that he slowed down, in part, because he was exhausted.
"Looking back on it now, just mentally and physically, I wasn't as sharp as I was in the first half, and guys were making be a lot more patient," he said. "I think that was something I had kind of seen in the first half, but I wasn't missing the pitches I was getting in the first half."
When the season ended, Davis said he just decompressed for weeks. Now, he's ready to focus again, eliminating as many distractions as possible. That includes trying not to worry about whether he will sign a long-term extension before becoming eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. His agent, Scott Boras, and Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette have not any serious contract discussions. In January, the Orioles and Davis avoided arbitration by agreeing on a $10.35 million deal for 2014.