There are now 113 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2021. We have two months and six days to go until pitchers and catchers are supposed to report to Sarasota to begin spring training for the next season.
Unfortunately, today is a day where people are going to be thinking about Chris Davis, because he spoke to O’s reporters via Zoom yesterday and delivered the same kind of confident-sounding stuff he’s said over the last few offseasons, all of which have been followed by atrocious baseball seasons.
Then there was the self-awareness, when Davis noted that “I’m the one big lump they’re kind of stuck with.” He meant the front office and its ongoing apparent mission to cut payroll. He is indeed a big lump on the payroll, which he will remain through 2022, and a smaller lump through 2037. He has been a waste on the roster for several seasons and has not done anything to give anyone a reason to believe he will ever be anything else.
None of this has deterred him from continuing to talk about himself as if he is something different than what he has been:
I enjoy playing the game. I want to play the game, not only for myself, but for my teammates, for our fan base, for the people of Baltimore. I still feel like there’s something that I have left to give. And to be honest with you, I don’t really want my career to end on the note that it’s on right now.
And in quotes that are going to come back around if Davis stinks in 2021 in the way he did in 2018, 2019, or 2020, here was Davis talking about what he’s doing so far this offseason:
I think the biggest thing for me this offseason so far has just been to get away from everything. ... I really think it’s just taking a step back and taking a break. I’ve been really grinding, especially during the offseasons the last couple of years, and I think it’s just taken a toll on me.
At no point in my life have I been in danger of being good enough at any sport to be a professional athlete, so with the obvious caveat that I do not know what it’s like and never will, it’s just unbelievable to read a player who has batted .169/.251/.299 over the past three seasons saying that his answer to it is take a break.
All that grinding Davis says he has done and none of it has shown up when it matters. It is a challenge to believe that anything will be any different headed into 2021 with Davis apparently having not done a whole lot since October. I would be glad for him to prove me wrong, even if he only somehow rebounded to 0.0 WAR, rather than being a complete failure as he has been for several seasons.
Davis and his view of reality aside, today could end up being the most exciting day that there is for an Orioles fan for the whole rest of the offseason. This is not saying very much, given that the O’s are expected to do little. It’s Rule 5 draft day, and the O’s are expected to once again make a selection, possibly even two, while trying to find a useful future player among the set of players who were not protected from the draft.
After this, it’s probably going to be a barrage of minor league signings and then eventually spring training will arrive. Other teams will be making signings and actually trying to improve themselves for the coming season. For the O’s, Mike Elias already said that the time is not yet to flip the switch to maximize wins for next season, so Orioles fans are left having to find other things to excite us. For a last look at some players who might interest the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft, check out my article from yesterday.
And before we move on to the links, to all those who will begin celebrating when the sun sets tonight, a happy Hanukkah to you!
Around the blogO’sphere
O’s expected to field two GCL teams, notes on shortstop, and more (Steve Melewski)
Although the Orioles have ended their affiliation with Frederick in the shuffle that wiped out short season leagues, the O’s are still planning to field an extra low-level Gulf Coast League team next year. So there will still be prospects getting development opportunities.
Moves to watch in AL East as 2020 ends (Orioles.com)
The most interesting Orioles quest is said to be “Sign a shortstop,” which is probably right. The Blue Jays are predicted to play for free agent George Springer, which seems more exciting.
Five Orioles takeaways from Mike Elias’s virtual winter meetings news conference (Baltimore Sun)
“Probably no multi-year contracts” is one other sign of the whole “flip the switch” marker not having happened yet, but it still is kind of a bummer to hear.
O’s hire scout Quincy Boyd (School of Roch)
Along with the remarks from Davis, Roch’s story goes into a little detail about a scouting merry-go-round, with one scout joining from the Red Sox and another one leaving to take a west coast job with the Mets.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 four-game Rule 5 guy Nestor Cortes Jr., 2018-19 catcher Austin Wynns, 2011 four-game shortstop Pedro Florimon, and 1996 reserve outfielder Luis Polonia.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: American School for the Deaf founder Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787), mathematician Ada Lovelace (1815), poet Emily Dickinson (1830), theatre and movie man Kenneth Branagh (1960), drummer Meg White (1974), tallest living person Sultan Kosen (1982), and “That’s So” Raven-Symoné (1985).
On this day in history...
In 1520, Martin Luther burned a copy of the papal bull Exsurge Domine, which threatened him with excommunication if he did not recant his Ninety-Five Theses.
In 1868, the world’s first traffic lights were installed. These were located outside of the Palace of Westminster in London.
In 1898, the Spanish-American War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. In the treaty, Spain ceded the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the United States.
In 1936, Britain’s king Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication.
In 1968, a man posing as a policeman stole 300 million yen - over $800,000 at 1968 exchange rates, and nearly $6 million today - in a Tokyo heist. The man stopped a vehicle carrying the money, claimed a manager’s house had been blown up and there was a bomb in the car, then, when the occupants got out of the car, he drove off with the money. The case was never solved.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 10. Have a safe Thursday.