Chris Davis isn’t good, and that’s bad

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is having an historically bad year.

In a time when hyperbole is everywhere, this unfortunately is not.

Davis is literally on pace to have the worst season by any player ever.

For those of you who hate, or don’t know about advanced metrics, fWAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a measurement used by FanGraphs to approximately how many wins a player is worth — seeing if team more or less likely to win with or without a specific player in a game.

Davis’s fWAR is currently -1.8. The next worst is -1.2, held by Cleveland Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin. Ian Desmond is the second-worst first baseman with an fWAR -0.9.

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Davis is currently slashing .153/.232/.233. We’re used to seeing a low average and a lot of strikeouts by Davis, but his home run and RBI totals made up for that.

So far in 2018, the two-time former league leader has four homers. That puts him on pace for around 15 this season. The 30 combined homers he’s hit since the start of the 2017 season hasn’t yet matched his 2016 total of 38.

 

There was hope for Davis entering this season. He said he’d been working extra hard to reduce strikeouts and increase contact in the offseason. Apparently, that extra work didn’t happen, according to Hall of Fame pitcher and MASN analyst Jim Palmer, who laid into Davis last month.

If the Orioles’ hitting coach says it didn’t happen, it probably didn’t.

If Davis did try to adjust after Palmer’s comments, it hasn’t created results.

Perhaps the worst part of this situation, is the the Orioles are paying Davis $23M per year through 2022 to drastically underperform. On top of that — he’s still regularly in the lineup, playing in 56 of Baltimore’s 64 games so far.

The contract makes him un-tradable, but it’s not like any team wants him at this point.

It has to be tough on a front office to bench or demote a guy being paid that much. It’s probably even tougher to bench a guy who propelled your offense for four years.

But the Red Sox were in a similar situation with Pablo Sandoval a few years back. They sucked it up and designated him for assignment. It was the right thing to do.

Some time in AAA might not hurt either.

Baltimore’s front office is just as flawed as Davis, though. It’s afraid to commit to a rebuild, or even give younger guys some time in the big leagues.

Personally, I feel bad for Davis. It seems like his struggles started by no fault of his own, but then he did nothing to fix anything, so I don’t feel too bad. It would be great if he turns things around.

Of course, my opinion means nothing, so it looks like the Orioles are just gonna keep losing with no plan on how to win. Love it.

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Manny Machado to Arizona makes a lot of sense

Manny Machado could be the biggest name moved during the 2018 season.

 

The Baltimore shortstop has gotten off to the best start of his career. As of June 2, his 17 home runs are just one behind the league lead. His OPS is also fifth best at his career high 1.024.

 

The Baltimore Orioles, besides their three-time All-Star, have been disastrous thus far. They are already 21.5 games back in their division with a 17-40 record, the worst in the MLB.

 

Machado is an upcoming free agent, and he can most likely get his desired salary in a place where he can compete for the postseason somewhere else.

 

That said, Baltimore trading him sooner rather than later for young assets seems to be the most logical action.

 

There is a plethora of teams that are looking to load up for a playoff run. Machado’s ability to play shortstop and third base makes him versatile enough for more teams to fit him into their lineups.

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Plus, his expiring contract will make it so the Orioles will have to compromise as many teams surly will not be willing to deflate their farm systems for a possible rental.

 

One team that could possibly be a good fit for him could be the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Heading into June, Arizona is 1.5 games back of NL West leading Colorado, and hitting has been a massive struggle in 2018 for the DBacks.

 

Arizona has scored the second fewest runs in the league and are dead last in team batting average.

 

To make matters worse, their best hitter this season, A.J. Pollock, is on the DL for breaking his thumb.

 

Inexplicably, former five-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt has had a horrendous 2018 thus far, batting just .209 with seven home runs in 54 games.

 

Third baseman Jake Lamb and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. (30 home runs each in 2017) have battled with injuries all season long. They have played in just 15 and 14 games respectively.

 

Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte have spent the most time at shortstop, but combined the two infielders are batting under .210.

 

Yet despite these offensive problems, the Diamondbacks are still above .500 and near the top of the NL West. Adding Machado could lead to a powerful lineup if the team can get healthy and Goldschmidt snaps out of his season-long funk.

 

Arizona made a similar move last season when they traded three prospects for former Detroit slugger JD Martinez. With his offensive dominance, the DBacks scored the fourth most runs in the NL and made it to the NLDS before falling to Los Angeles.

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Baltimore desperately needs pitching for the future, so a higher end pitching prospect like Taylor Widener (2.74 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 49.1 innings in Double-A this year) and a couple of mid-level prospects could do the trick to get Machado to the desert, and possibly make Arizona the team to beat in the NL West.

Lighten up, Brian Dozier

Just a heads up, I’m an Orioles fan. I’m willing to take any flak from you journalistic curmudgeons out there.

Twins‘ second baseman Brian Dozier is freaking out over Orioles’ catcher Chance Sisco‘s decision to bunt against the shift in the ninth inning of Minnesota’s 7-0 win on Sunday.

Baseball Twitter isn’t having it.

Dozier said he thought about saying something to Sisco at second, but instead decided to let Baltimore’s “veteran leadership” handle it.

But what is there to say?

Pitcher José Berríos had already given up a hit, so it’s not like Sisco was being a shithead (pronounced shi-theed).

The Orioles proceeded to load the bases with a Chris Davis walk and a Manny Machado single.

They didn’t score, but one swing of the bat could have changed the game, or at least started to.

Anyway, Dozier can calm down. Sisco was trying to set his team up to win the game. It’s early, but a win is a win, especially in the AL East.

Gausman tosses 3 perfect innings

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kevin Gasuman retired all nine batters he faced on Saturday, striking out five.

Only one ball of the 39 Gausman pitched went beyond the infield, and the Orioles went on to beat the Phillies 4-2.

Gausman’s Spring Training debut was cut short on Monday after a collision at the plate.

MLB Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Following a last place finish in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles are entering 2018 with a pitching staff thrown together at the last minute like a high schooler’s essay on The Great Gatsby, and the faces of the franchise have one foot out the door.

Despite this, and their elite closer being out until the until the All Star break, general manager Dan Duquette said the Orioles are looking to be contenders in 2018.

Okay, Dan.

Baltimore entered Spring Training with only two starting pitchers before signing Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman during the first week of camp. They’ll join Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy on the rotation. The fifth spot is up for grabs, and is expected to go to someone currently in the bullpen such as Mike Wright, Gabriel Ynoa or Miguel Castro. Prospect Hunter Harvey could also make a push for the spot.

Star third baseman Manny Machado is coming off of a disappointing season. He wasn’t bad by any means but he certainly did not have the MVP caliber year that was expected. Look to see a better version of Machado in 2018. It’s a contract year for him — if he wants big money, he’ll need to put up big numbers.

Whether or not Machado is traded at the deadline or departs in free agency is another story on its own. He will at least start the season in Baltimore. Even if he has mentally moved on, it will still benefit Machado (and the Orioles, by proxy) if he performs well.

Center fielder Adam Jones has also made it clear that his return isn’t guaranteed after this year. Jones said he wants to play for a winner and get a ring. The chances of that happening in Baltimore (this year, and going forward) are slim.

It was reported that manager Buck Showalter held a meeting where he showed some “tough love” for his team. It might be safe to guess there won’t be much screwing around in Baltimore this season.

Even if the team is locked in, it will be very hard for the Orioles to compete. They made no major moves in the offseason, while their division rivals acquired stars like Giancarlo Stanton and J.D. Martinez.

Similar to last year, their offense probably won’t suck. Not sucking just isn’t going to be enough this year. For a team like this to rely on their offense, they’ll need to score a lot more runs. The Orioles pitching staff allowed the second most home runs in baseball last year. Now they’ll have to face the leading home run hitter 18 times, all in hitter-friendly parks.

There is always the chance that the entire roster improves, and the pitching staff gets their s— together. If that happens, the team can be decent and make a run at a Wild Card spot.

Realistically though, 2018 will be nothing more than a year of existence for the Orioles. They have shown no signs of committing to a rebuild and significant time might pass until they do.

Owner Peter Angelos’ hesitancy to spend in the offseason and build a good roster on the fly will likely play out just as you would expect:

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