The Orioles were being embarrassed again by the New York Yankees. Davis has been frustrated and humbled by his anemic offensive performance for much of the past couple of seasons. And Hyde can’t wake up from the pitching nightmare that resulted in another shower of home runs in an ugly 14-2 defeat.
Davis should have known better. He, perhaps more than anybody in baseball right now, needs to keep his head down.
Perhaps Hyde could have picked a more appropriate time and place to push the button that set Davis off, but he’s the manager and he’s got a lot more to worry about than his most-veteran player’s fragile feelings.
It might not be unfortunate, however, that it happened in front of the rest of the team, which has rallied around Davis throughout his struggles. Hyde might not have planned to call out Davis — for reasons that are still unclear. But he has been talking a lot about accountability lately, and it’s pretty obvious he was holding his highest-paid, most-experienced player accountable for something right in front of all those younger players.
Hyde pulled Davis from the game at that point and replaced him in the lineup with utility man Jace Peterson, another decision that obviously was not planned but also sent the right message.
In his first season as a major league manager, Hyde has tried to keep the focus on the rebuilding process and keep the mood upbeat for his developing team while still establishing himself as an authority figure.
He has been increasingly pointed in his evaluation of the team as the season has progressed and already has dealt with several performance problems out of the public view.
After Wednesday night’s game, he told reporters he has a good relationship with Davis and this particular situation will blow over quickly.
That might turn out to be true, but what remains to be seen is whether the incident will further test the patience of the organization with a player who accounts for about a quarter of the team’s 2019 payroll, bats in the bottom third of the lineup and no longer plays every day.
It’s even fair to wonder if this unhappy moment might also represent a breaking point for Davis, whose on-field frustration might have reached a level where he might consider negotiating a buyout for the final three years of his contract and going home.