Chris Davis was once regarded as the best power hitter in baseball.
For a few seasons, it looked like the slugger was going to become a perennial MVP candidate.
He hit 53 home runs in 2013, 26 home runs in 2014, and 47 home runs in 2015.
That was enough for the Baltimore Orioles to give Davis a massive contract—a seven-year deal worth $161 million—and it went into effect in the 2016 season.
And unfortunately, it has turned out to be one of the worst contracts in MLB history.
Since the deal went into effect, Davis has batted .196 with a .670 OPS over 534 games.
He has posted an unfathomable -5.4 WAR over that span.
In other words, the Orioles have been paying Davis an annual salary of $23 million, and in exchange, his net impact has been distinctly negative.
CHRIS DAVIS GOT A HIT!!!!!
His 54 at-bat hitless streak is now over! pic.twitter.com/ja2IWKMI1y
— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) April 13, 2019
To make matters worse, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.
Davis is currently out for the entire 2021 season due to a hip injury.
This all begs the question: What happened to him?
Davis Has Always Been An All-Or-Nothing Hitter, And With Age, He Started Drifting To The ‘Nothing’ Side Of Things
The Orioles are partly to blame for the disastrous situation.
During his prime, Davis’ home run numbers were definitely impressive, but it was hard to overlook some of his complementary statistics.
For instance, he led the league in strikeouts in 2015 and 2016.
His strikeout rate has always been through the roof (32.9 percent for his career) and his walk rate has always been low (9.9 percent) because he lacks plate discipline.
Davis has always been an all-or-nothing hitter in the sense that his success is dependent on the long ball, and when it’s not there, neither is his production.
Once age started to catch up with him, the power disappeared, and the Orioles were left with a player who strikes out a ton and can’t hit for average.
Injuries Have Plagued Him
We mentioned that Davis is currently out for the entire 2021 season with a hip injury, but this isn’t the first time he has been plagued by the injury bug.
For instance, in 2020, he appeared in just 16 games and did two stints on the injured list with a left knee issue.
Before that, he missed time in 2019 due to another hip problem.
He is on the wrong side of 30 years old, and health has absolutely emerged as an issue.
It’s hard to get in a groove when you’re constantly battling injury concerns.
Davis’ Orioles contract will go down in Baltimore history as one of the most regrettable deals of all-time.
We're about to head into Year 5 of Chris Davis' 7-Year deal with the #Orioles. He is still owed $69,000,000.
Through the first four years of his contract:
– 518 Games
– .198 AVG
– .679 OPS
– 92 HR
– 230 RBI
– 745 Ks
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) January 5, 2020
It’s a tough situation for both sides, as the Orioles are surely unhappy with the money they are spending on Davis, and Davis is presumably unhappy with his performance in recent years.
There is one year remaining on the contract (excluding the 2021 season) until both parties are free, and it’s probably safe to assume that everyone is counting the days.
Maybe Davis can bounce back in 2022 and be a serviceable MLB hitter again, but that seems like a long-shot.
We’ll see what happens.