CHICAGO — Hall of Famer and MASN color commentator Jim Palmer gave a frank assessment of first baseman Chris Davis during the postgame show after Wednesday's 11-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox, using the Orioles broadcast to unload on the team's highest-paid player.
On the “O’s Xtra” postgame show shortly after the game in Chicago ended, Rick Dempsey prompted Palmer by referencing a point the Hall of Famer Orioles pitcher made during the broadcast about how Davis appeared to not be following the ball across the plate.
Palmer's comments were as follows:
"He's struggling. He's in one of those paralysis by over-analysis mode. He wants to do good. Buck [Showalter] throws out the fact that, 'Hey, he's got a big contract. He's not the only guy in the major leagues who has got a big contract.’ That's a given. If you play nowadays, you're going to make a lot of money, if you hit 33 home runs, 47 home runs, 53 home runs and you get a big seven-year deal.
"You've got to throw that away, and you've got to make some adjustments. I don't see anything. I don't see a wider stance, I don't see a closed stance, I don't see him dropping my hands. I don't see anything. And we're seeing the results. He's just in a prolonged slump. You know, they say he works hard. Ehh. He told everybody in spring training that he worked with [hitting coach] Scott Coolbaugh. I asked Scott in spring training, I go, 'Hey, you must have really put in a lot of work.' He goes, 'We didn't work.' So, you know, I don't believe anything.
“I can just look at what's going on. He's slumping. He's really — I mean, he's killing this club. He's not the only guy doing that. It's not all on Chris Davis. Then again, you give up 11 earned runs, it really probably wouldn't have mattered. But he's got to get back on track, and he's got to make some adjustments. If you look at Giancarlo Stanton, he had 59 home runs last year. Chris has hit 53. What did he do midway through the season? He closed his stance, and he ended up hitting, what, 27 home runs in the last two and a half months? So, Chris has got to do something. It's got to change. Whether it will or not, we'll wait and see."
Palmer isn't the only one looking for answers on Davis. Showalter batted him in the leadoff spot to start the season as what he referred to as a new toy, something to change things up for Davis. That lasted five games.
At the end of April, Davis got a two-day reset out of the lineup and saw some success in the ensuing games, but he's reverted to where he was and continues to hit in the heart of the Orioles lineup.
He struck out looking twice Wednesday in an 0-for-4 day, the second coming with two on and the Orioles trailing by five in the fifth inning. In his past nine games, he's 2-for-35 (.057) with a walk and 17 strikeouts. That spell includes one hit in six games on this road trip, and no hits in his past 19 plate appearances. He's batting .154/.230/.253 with four home runs and four doubles in 44 games this season.
Davis sat Sunday against left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez, whom he's struggled against. Showalter said at the time that there were a lot of things he had been working on to try and get him back on track.
"He’s trying, but it’s just not happening," Showalter said Sunday. "I think he’s got a pretty firm grip on what he’s not doing [and] he’s trying to get there.”