xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Chris Davis is on the injured list again. Young Orioles might permanently block his way back to the roster.

For as long as the Orioles have made their future the priority, the presence of Chris Davis on their roster and in their lineup has been a direct hindrance to that.

The team showed yet again Monday that that won’t be the case anymore.

Advertisement

The Orioles needed a roster spot to activate Austin Hays from the injured list ahead of Monday night’s series opener with the Atlanta Braves and put Davis back on the 10-day injured list in order to do so.

Davis appeared in just one game since Sept. 8 after being activated from his initial stint on the IL with a sore knee, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader loss to the New York Yankees.

Advertisement

He must stay on the injured list for at least 10 days this time around, too, meaning he can’t be activated until there are just a few games remaining this season. That means there’s a good chance that Davis' season is over, and with that comes the worthy discussion of whether his time in an Orioles uniform might be as well.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was true to his word last week when he noted how Davis wouldn’t play often after his activation. With Hays back in a crowded outfield that also features Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart requiring daily at-bats, it’s hard to picture Davis playing over any of them, or first baseman/designated hitter Renato Núñez.

Hyde said that Mountcastle would get some time at first base, and the rookie slugger was the designated hitter in Monday’s lineup with Hays returning to make his first career start in left field.

Considering Davis' struggles, there wasn’t going to be a chance for him to play with that group. His hitless day Friday dropped his season batting line to .115/.164/.173. He doesn’t have a home run, and has driven in three runs.

According to FanGraphs, Davis' wins above replacement (WAR) is -0.8 this season, second-worst in baseball among those with at least 50 plate appearances. His -3.2 WAR in 2018 was among the worst in baseball history. Only 38-year-old outfielder Curtis Granderson had a worse WAR in 2019 than Davis' -1.3 among players with at least 350 plate appearances.

It’s been a disastrous return on the seven-year, $161 million contract that he signed before the 2016 season. There are two years remaining on that deal after this one, and the Orioles' problems in finding a place for Davis will only get worse. Next year, the team will presumably have Trey Mancini back from his battle with colon cancer and Anthony Santander back from the oblique strain that ended his season.

With prospects Yusniel Diaz and Ryan McKenna another year closer after developing at the Bowie camp, the Orioles are going to have a challenge getting all those players on the field as it is. Adding Davis to that mix won’t help matters.

Parting ways with Davis won’t be easy. He’s owed a combined $46 million, including $16 million per year with $7 million deferred for payment after the contract. At this point, it’s a sunk cost for the Orioles no matter whether he’s on the team or not.

Paying out the rest of his salary at once in the winter after a year of lost revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic might prove prohibitive. However the Orioles decide to go forward, though, it’s hard to imagine this dance going on with Davis for much longer.

Wilkerson released

Stevie Wilkerson suffered a fractured finger in the Orioles' first exhibition game of summer camp and hasn’t played since, though he’s been in their player pool the whole time.

To create a spot in the pool at the secondary camp for outfielder Mason Williams, who was outrighted there for a second time this month, Wilkerson was released Monday.

Wilkerson wasn’t going to be ready before the season ended and was set to be a free agent anyway, but the team will continue to lead his rehabilitation and plans to stay in touch during free agency.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement