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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Chris Davis says he’s going to make changes, you guys

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After another horrific season, the Orioles slugger says this time he’ll make some mechanical adjustments, for real, no fooling. Stop me if you’ve heard that before.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

As a slow offseason plods on, it’s time for our regular check-in with the Orioles’ high-priced, little-performing first baseman, Chris Davis.

Davis played just 16 games in 2020 due to a knee injury, but man, did he pack a lot of terrible into those handful of appearances. He didn’t homer, and he had just six hits — only three for extra bases — in 55 plate appearances. He had one RBI, a .337 OPS, and an OPS+ of -7. That’s negative seven. Did you even know there could be such a thing as a negative OPS+?

It was the third consecutive disastrous season for Davis, who, since 2018, “boasts” a batting line of .169/.251/.299 with an OPS+ of 50. He has over a hundred more strikeouts (348) than hits and walks combined (223). And the guy who twice led the league in homers earlier in his career has a total of just 28 roundtrippers in the last three years.

But fear not! In a recent interview, Davis told the Baltimore Sun that he’s thinking about maybe starting to consider possibly entertaining the notion of potentially making some mechanical changes, perhaps. “I think it’s just time for that,” he said. “I was reluctant to really change mechanically because ... I’d had success with my prior mechanics, but it’s to the point now where I realize that, look, I’m not getting any younger, I’m not getting any quicker, I’m not getting any faster.”

To which every Orioles fan responded: “Wait, you’re JUST NOW realizing this???”

It seems hard to believe that Davis, after a historically atrocious 2018 season, followed by a nearly equally inept 2019, and another brutal 2020, could possibly have gone this long without attempting any mechanical changes. Especially since, at the start of every season, he proclaims that he’s been putting in the work and making the necessary adjustments to shake off his previous year’s struggles (back in February, I compiled a greatest-hits list of Davis’s yearly quotes about his impending improvement).

Hey, maybe this will finally be the time that something good will actually happen and Davis will be vintage Crush Davis when he reports to the field in 2021. Seeing the club’s longest-tenured player go through such agonizing difficulties year after year isn’t anyone’s cup of tea, and by all accounts, Davis is a good guy (his recent $1 million donation to fight child hunger was just the latest of his many charitable acts). But at this point, four years removed from his last above-average season and three years from his last non-embarrassing one, it’s hard to put much stock into Davis’s vow to turn things around for the better.

Links

Former Orioles prospects who got away – The Athletic
Dan Connolly builds a roster out of homegrown Orioles prospects who went on to find success after leaving Baltimore. That starting rotation would look mighty nice right about now.

Talking O’s farm with MLBPipeline.com’s Jonathan Mayo - Steve Melewski
Jonathan Mayo gives his take on Orioles prospects and says, among other things, that he’d be surprised if Adley Rutschman isn’t in the majors next season. Yes please!

McKenna relates to and rates newest 40-man members - School of Roch
Here's another take on Orioles prospects, this time from a guy who’s been teammates with a whole bunch of them.

Baumann, Lowther and Diaz could help Orioles in 2021 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Three new additions to the 40-man roster offer their thoughts on the career-changing milestone. Personally I’m pulling for Michael Baumann most of all, because he’s my birthday buddy. I’m a simple man.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 53rd birthday to former Orioles No. 1 overall pick turned MASN broadcaster Ben McDonald. I hope we continue to hear a lot of him on O’s telecasts next season. Other former Orioles born on this day include Australia-born 2003 lefty Damian Moss (44), 1968-70 righty Fred Beene (78), and the late Jim Northrup (b. 1939, d. 2011), a longtime Tigers outfielder who finished his career with a short stint in Baltimore.

On this day in 1982, Cal Ripken Jr. received the first of many accolades in his Hall of Fame career, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award after batting .264/.317/.475 with 28 homers and 93 RBIs. (Fun fact: that rookie year was the last time Ripken wasn’t an All-Star; he was named to the squad in each of his following 19 seasons.) Cal received 24 of the 28 first-place ROY votes, with the other four going to Twins slugger Kent Hrbek. Future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs finished a distant third.