After the Orioles' 11-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox Wednesday night, Hall of Famer and Orioles broadcaster Jim Palmer offered a strong critique of Davis' work to improve from a slump that's now lasted two years, and called into question the honesty of Davis saying he and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh worked together in the offseason to fix it.
Davis, Coolbaugh, manager Buck Showalter and Palmer addressed the situation before Thursday's matinee at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Their comments are in full below.
Davis on his overall reaction
“I was disappointed. Obviously, it bothers me. It's disappointing that, when things are obviously not going the way that I want, for that to be called into question by two guys that I have a lot of trust, have a lot of faith in, that I've had a good relationship for a number of years. I hate that that's where we are, but at the end of the day, I know the work that I put in in the offseason, I know the things that I try to make adjustments on, things that I try to correct, and it's frustrating for me everyday to come in here every fay and not see any return for that.
“I mean, it's obviously the way things are going right now, the last thing I want to hear about is someone within the organization questioning my work ethic. But that's where we're at.”
Davis on how he would characterize what he did in the offseason with Coolbaugh
“Well, when he was in town and when he was available, we hit together. That's the advantage we have living close enough to him in the offseason to where we can work together. I made it a point to start hitting a lot earlier. The guy that I actually train with in the offseason threw to me quite a bit. I knew that there were things that I wanted to work on, and Coolie an I talked about it before the offseason really happened, things he thought I might need to correct, things I might need to work on.
“Like I said, I spent a lot of time, a lot of hours this offseason amidst what was going on this home working on those things. And for me to not see a return and continue to grind out early in the beginning of the season, it's tough, man. Just because I don't snap every at-bat or show a lot of emotion doesn't mean it doesn't bother me. It bothers me a great deal, especially when we're not winning games and especially when I'm coming up with opportunities to cash in and change a game. It's frustrating not to see that.
Davis on his willingness to make adjustments
“I feel like I've pretty much wiped the slate clean on a daily basis and said, what do we need to do? Is there something else that we can try? Obviously, the results aren't there. I think it's foolish for me to continue to go out here and do the same thing over and over. There have been games like two nights ago where I square up three balls and have nothing to show for it and feel like I'm making a step in the right direction, and then the next night, it looks like I'm standing at the wrong side of the plate.
“I know that it's not what I want it to look like right now, but all I know how to do is continue to work and trust that there's a history there, that there's a history of success, and try to be here as much as I can for my teammates on the defensive side of the ball and do what I can to try to help the team in some facet of the game.”
Davis on whether it's frustrating to not be able to find a fix
“That's the most frustrating part to me. It's not just one thing. If it was that easy, we would have found it by now, because it's not just one guy working at it. I feel like there are several guys that have offered advice, offered help. It's just, on a daily basis, trying to figure out a way to make it click.”
Davis on whether he had spoken to either Coolbaugh or Palmer Wednesday morning
“No, I haven't. That was the first thing I heard this morning, so obviously, my day has gotten off to an outstanding start. But no, I haven't spoken to either one.”
Davis on whether there's any reason not to believe the comments on the air or what was relayed to Palmer were true
“I have no reason to believe otherwise. I don't know why somebody would just, you know, like bold-faced lie. Especially with the relationship that both Scott and I have, and Jim and I have. Never have we had words or anything like that. I feel like it's always been a very cordial relationship until, obviously, last night.”
Davis on how often he estimates he worked with Coolbaugh this offseason
“How many times? There's five days in a week. There were three days a week when he wasn't out of town. If you're looking for an X-number of workouts to validate me working hard, I hit four days a week, from about the third week of the offseason until spring training. Sometimes, Scott was there. Sometimes, he was out of town. He has a family too, he had his offseason too. But as far as putting the work in, I have no guilt, no regrets about any of that.”
Davis on whether his past connection from Texas with Coolbaugh fuels perception the two are more connected than a typical player and coach
“Absolutely, and I tell him that probably more than he likes to hear it. But the fact that we're friends, the fact that we've had a relationship for a number of years, I walways tell him—you had no idea what you were signing up for 11 years ago when we started this.
“Scott's a good coach. He works hard. He cares about the players in here. He's always available. He does things to try and help every guy find their stride. At the end of the day, that's all you can ask for. We can't exepct those guys to go out there and do the job for us. The weights on our shoulders. So yea, it's not fair, but life's not fair.”
Davis on whether he should be benched or go to the minors
“That's not a question for me. My job is to go out here and do what I can every day, prepare and continue to work hard and show up every day. That's what I'm going to continue to do.”
Coolbaugh on how he would characterize his work with Davis in the offseason
“I saw Chris three times, and I threw to him, and that was it. It wasn't anything that I physically [did] with him, or used the offseason with any one-on-one sessions to change something.”
Coolbaugh on their previous relationship bringing him further into Davis' struggles in public eye
“I think that the bottom line is there's a lot of times that, you know, you come to an organization or from somewhere else that a player has been. Sometimes, you associate with what he had done, maybe in the minor leagues. That's your association. Same with Craig Gentry or any other player that comes through, you know? Whether it be Darren O'Day or Tommy Hunter that was here in the past. I mean, there's guys that you're associated with from an organizational standpoint, where maybe they started [with you] or you cross pathways. That's all public perception, if people want to say that I'm associated because I'm the hitting coach and I'm the reason why Chris did this, that and the other.
Coolbaugh on Davis saying they worked out three times a week
That had been in years past, not last year. Not this past one.
Coolbaugh on what he said about his work with Davis at FanFest
I think if you look back at my comments at FanFest, I had talked to Chris more about some of the mental stuff we had talked about. Being more aggressive swinging in the zone. He had taken some pitches last year, and being more proactive, being more aggressive. That's about the only thing that I really talked about on the mental side, but physically, on the physical or mechanical side of things, I really didn't see him enough to make any changes or do anything to address that.
Coolbaugh on the path forward for Davis
“Adjustment. Bottom line. Any player in the game goes through all periods of time when they adjust, whether it's mentally or physically. Whether it's something that they do on a daily basis to change where they're at. I think self-evaluation and knowing where you're at at the moment is a big thing.
“I feel like Chris needs to find a way to make an adjustment to get to the pitches. It's still the same mode. As you see, there's a lot of strikes that are taken. Until he assesses that on his own, I don't think there's any one person that can change it.”
Showalter on whether the comments as he knew them on Davis were fair
“I'm not going to get into fair and unfair. I'm going to be supportive of Chris in this because Chris works hard at his trade. And I think people, a lot of time, because he's not screaming and yelling and wearing emotions on his sleeve—he cares to a fault. Don't think for a second that he's just, [oh] well. I can tell you a lot. I'm there personally seeing a lot of work that Scott will do. Which day and what's considered enough or not enough or whatever?
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“We certainly stay in communication in the offseason, during the season. I just talked with Chris yesterday, spoke with him again today on some other things—a lot of times just to check on what he's doing. Because it's tough. It's tough sledding right now—real tough. So, Those are the type of things that happen when you're having the struggles that we're having. Chris is not the only one, OK? Scott and him have been together and had a whole lot of success for a long period of time. So, I trust him.”
Showalter on whether the criticism of Coolbaugh is fair
“Scott's very confident, as I am, in his skills. He's got a proven track record with all the hitters here, for the most part. We're supposed to figure out a reason why we're not performing as well as we have in the past. But, the past is always the past. It's about now. It's about today. It's about how we get better right away. You can lean on a track record for so long. That's true for everybody.”
Palmer on his original statements after Wednesday’s game
"I stand by what I said. I just had a casual conversation [with Coolbaugh] because I read an article in January, probably in the Sun Paper. I said, 'Chris is frustrated. He struck out looking 73 times out of what, 195 strikeouts? He's got to make some adjustments.' The first day of spring training, 'I say, "I hear you worked a lot." He goes, 'No, we didn't.' You just heard the hitting instructor. This is not a he-said, she-said, or Buck Showalter, who was kind put in the middle of it in the locker room because didn't know what I said.
Palmer on Davis needing to make adjustments
“This team plays a lot better when Chris Davis plays well. He's not playing up to his capabilities. He's not making adjustments. That's the point I made. We saw him looking at the third base coach when strike three came over. There's something going on. He needs to make adjustments, and I'll tell you what. Scott Coolbaugh, he had him in the minor leagues and said he was the last guy that would leave the ballpark at night. I think he has to get back. It just doesn't happen at this level. It doesn't matter how much money you're making. It's not about how much money, how long your contract is. Are you doing the work to get better? I think that needs to improve. I stand by that. I think he does it and I hope he has success, because he's a better player than he's showed.”