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Paying Orioles’ Chris Davis: a tale of ‘whoa’

Columnist Bruce Penton writes about the differences between Chris Davis and Khris Davis, two major leaguers having very different seasons
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If you’re Khris Davis, life is pretty good right now. If you’re Chris Davis, you’re a wealthy American athlete whose batting average is under .200 and a guilt level about four or five times higher.

If a baseball player feels any sort of guilt about getting paid a ridiculously high sum of money and then unable to perform at the level of even the rawest of rookies, then Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles is probably among the league leaders in that category.

Davis is getting paid $23 million for this season plus the same amount for another three years of a seven-year contract he signed in 2016. He was coming off a 47-home run season in 2015 and was in his prime at age 28. A seven-year contract made sense. Except for the fact that Davis’s hitting took a sudden downward turn. His home-run production fell by nine the first year (to 38), then 12 (to 26), and then 10 more (to 16) last year. He finished the season in an 0-for-21 slump to compile a majors-worst .176 batting average, and started the 2019 campaign in an 0-for-33 funk, finally getting a hit April 13 to snap his unprecedented 0-for-54 slump.

Davis has picked up the pace slightly since then, with a .193 average in mid-May, with four home runs (on pace for 17 on the season).

Orioles management must rue the day they decided to sign Davis to that monstrous contract. Not only will he make $23 million a year through 2022, but he will receive annual deferred payments of $3.5 million every year from 2023-32 and then annual payments of $1.4 million from 2033-37, when he will be in his mid-50s.

Crazy money, crazy times, a sometimes crazy world.

And then there’s Khris Davis, same pronunciation, different spelling, who is doing it right for the A’s. This Davis has a contract paying him exactly $50 million for three years (counting this year) but he hit 48 home runs last year and is on pace for more than 40 this year.

Chris Davis is untradeable because no team would want to take on the contractural obligations tied to him. The Orioles could cut him, but continue to pay him, but it appears they’d rather just play him and pray to the baseball gods that he regains his hitting stroke.

Khris Davis, meanwhile, is thankful his name isn’t spelled with a C.

  • Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Golfer Lydia Ko and instructor Ted Oh have parted ways. Ko and Oh a no-go? So … where’s Abbott and Costello when we really need them?”
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr, to reporters, when asked if he ever had to play through an eye injury: “No. It’s tough to get poked in the eye when you’re on the bench cheering.”
  • Comedy writer Jim Barach, after the Patriots used their fourth-round draft pick on a possible successor to QB Tom Brady: “Even more questions were raised about Robert Kraft’s fifth- round choice … a masseuse.”
  • Dwight Perry again: “Alabama publicists’ biggest concern this spring: Is Nick Saban’s hip-replacement surgery considered an upper- or lower-body injury?”
  • Sportsnet panelist Nick Kypreos, on a video of San Jose’s Joe Thornton getting hit by a puck in the …. uh, the worst place a man can get hit by a puck: “Joe knows that at this time of year, it’s all about the cup.”
  • Neat sports nugget, apropos of nothing: “Justin Smoak’s first MLB RBI in 2010 drove in Vladimir Guerrero, Sr., while both were playing with the Angels. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.’s first MLB RBI in 2019 drove in Justin Smoak, while both were playing for the Blue Jays.”
  • Surprising PGA Tour winner Max Homa, who was ranked 1,282 in the world last October but elevated his game to win May’s Quail Hollow championship: “I used to say when I hit rock bottom I found a shovel and kept digging,” 
  • Comedy writer Brad Dickson, on Twitter: “Today if anyone cuts me off in traffic and impedes my progress I'm gonna shout out the window: "What is this — the Kentucky Derby?!”
  • Another one from Dwight Perry: “The NCAA has ordered Ole Miss to vacate 33 football wins over six seasons — including 15 that All-SEC tackle Laremy Tunsil played in 2013-14 — for using ineligible players. In other words, a Tunsilectomy.”
  • RJ Currie of, after the Hurricanes shocked hockey experts by eliminating the Islanders in four straight: “Even Neil Diamond said, ‘Sweep Carolina?’”
  • The Patriots’ Tom Brady, to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, on why he isn’t bothered about being only 17th on the NFL’s QB pay scale: “My wife makes a lot of money.”
  • Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, with the working definition of misery: “The guy who ripped up his 65-1 ‘Country House to win’ ticket right after the Kentucky Derby race.”

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