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Orioles puzzled over Davis' 2016 numbers

Orioles puzzled over Davis' 2016 numbers

Who was more valuable to the Orioles in the season just past? Was it Mark Trumbo—or Chris Davis? 

Most Orioles fans would say that it was Trumbo with his major league leading 47 home runs, but according to Baseballreference.com’s Wins over Replacement (WAR) calculations, it’s Davis. 

Trumbo’s offensive WAR was 2.8, the highest of his career, but his defensive WAR was -2.1, his lowest. Trumbo’s total WAR was 1.6.

Davis’ total WAR of 3.0, was nearly double Trumbo’s. His offensive WAR was 2.4, not far off from Trumbo’s, and his defensive WAR was -0.2. 
Interestingly, Fangraphs recently wrote that Davis, by its calculations, should be the American League Gold Glove first baseman, an opinion often offered by manager Buck Showalter. 

Davis hit 38 home runs and drove in 84 runs yet his season was seen as a failure. 

How could it not have been? After signing a seven-year, $161 million contract in January, the expectations placed on Davis were extraordinary. 

But, while his home runs and RBIs look strong, he struggled to put up decent numbers in many other offensive categories. 

Davis hit just .221, second lowest of his career, and his 219 strikeouts were the third most in baseball history. Only Mark Reynolds (223 with Arizona in 2009) and Adam Dunn (222 with the White Sox in 2012) had more. 

Though he had a career high in strikeouts, Davis also walked a career-most 88 times, giving him an on-base percentage of .332, which ranked him behind only Hyun Soo Kim (.382 in 95 games) and Manny Machado (.343) among Orioles regulars. 

Strikeouts with Davis are simply a cost of doing business. In 2015, the year that literally forced the Orioles to give Davis this huge contract, he struck out 208 times, but still managed to hit .262 along with his 47 home runs and 117 RBIs. 

Even in his breakthrough 2013 season when he finished third in Most Valuable Player balloting, Davis struck out 199 times when he hit .286 and led the majors with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs.

At last week’s season-ending press conference, manager Buck Showalter suggested that many of Davis’ offensive issues were due to a nagging hand injury that was sustained in the season’s early weeks. 

Davis really only had one strong month. In June, he hit .284 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs. He followed that with an awful July, when he slumped to .153 with just three homers and seven RBIs. 

While he hit 10 home runs in August, nine of them were solo shots, and he had just three RBIs that didn’t come on homers. 

What’s ahead for Davis? 2017 is likely to be a season without Trumbo in the lineup, and maybe if the Orioles move Adam Jones back to third while Davis bats fourth, it could help him. 

A year ago fans were frenetic over the possibility that Davis might leave. After protracted negotiations, Davis remained after the Orioles forked over by far their largest commitment in team history. 

With Davis ensconced at first base, the Orioles may have to find a place for rookie Trey Mancini, who hit three home runs in five September games. 

Mancini may be at DH because Davis’ glove work is far superior to Mancini’s. Last fall, Davis’ agent, Scott Boras sold Davis as not only a fine first baseman but as an adept outfielder, too. 

Davis played just three games in right field and was twice the designated hitter. Showalter much preferred Davis at first to Trumbo. 

Despite his offensive shortcomings in 2016, Davis remained a fan favorite. He did hit the 12th most home runs in a team history in 2016, but how many of them were memorable? 

Only six of his 38 home runs came in the seventh inning or later. Three of them had a demonstrable effect on the game. 

On Apr. 11, Davis hit a ninth inning homer at Fenway Park against Craig Kimbrel that broke a 6-6 tie in a 9-7 win. 

On May 20, Davis’ seventh inning home run broke a 4-4 tie and sent the Orioles on their way to a 9-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels.

Less than three weeks later, Davis hit a home run in the seventh in Toronto that tied the score at 5 in an eventual 6-5 Orioles win. 

His other three late-inning home runs came in games in which the Orioles led or trailed by at least six runs. 

Davis followed his spectacular 2013 with an awful 2014 that saw his batting average fall to .196. The year ended with Davis suspended for use of Adderall without a prescription. 

He smartly rebounded in 2015, earning the mammoth contract. 

Orioles fans are hoping the odd-year Davis syndrome works in their favor in 2017. 

RELATED: Britton's response to MLB auction

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Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

USA Today Sports

Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Cobb's comfort and familiarity with the AL East was the deciding factor in his decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

"They used the AL East and the success I've had in it to their advantage," the 30-year-old right-hander said Wednesday after finalizing a $57 million, four-year contract. "They kept challenging me with it and I love the challenge of pitching in this division and they know that over the times we talked. They did a really good job of making me feel like this is where I need to be."

Cobb gets $14 million in each of the first three seasons and $15 million in 2021, and he would earn a $500,000 bonus in each year he pitches 180 innings. Baltimore will defer $6.5 million from this year's salary and $4.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He gets $2 million of the deferred money on Nov. 30, 2022, and $1.8 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2023-32. If he doesn't pitch at least 130 innings in 2020, an additional $5.25 million of the final's year salary would get deferred, payable $1.75 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2033-35.


Cobb has a full no-trade this year, then can list 10 teams from 2019-21 that he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

He had spent his entire six-season big league career with Tampa Bay and was the last big-name starting pitcher available in a slow-moving free agent market. He joined Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, who were signed last month, in a revamped rotation that includes holdovers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Cobb was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season. He pitched 179 1/3 innings in his first full year back after missing nearly two seasons because of Tommy John surgery.

He had turned down the Rays' $17.4 million qualifying offer in November, and Baltimore pursued him from the start of free agency.

"They didn't stop bothering me the whole offseason," Cobb said. "They were very persistent, and I think that you notice that confidence they have in you just by the way they speak to you and the questions you ask and not questioning anything that's gone on. Everyone's got flaws that they come with and potential things you could really harp on that might not be your strong suit, but they never went down that avenue. They always told me how much they like certain aspects of what I do on and off the field, and just kept repeating how well I fit in here."


Cobb is 48-35 with a 3.50 in six big league seasons. Baltimore will lose its third-highest draft pick, currently No. 51, and the Rays get an extra selection after the first round as compensation.

Jose Mesa Jr. was designated for assignment Wednesday to clear a roster spot.

Baltimore opens on March 29 at home against Minnesota, but Cobb won't be ready to pitch then. He has agreed to be optioned to a minor league affiliate to help build up innings.

"I'm going to be pushing it as quick as I can," Cobb said. "That's going to be up to them. They've invested in me for a four-year period and as much as we know how much every game matters even early in April, we're going to have to look out for the overall future of this whole thing and whole contract and whatever they determine to be the way to protect me and my feedback from the bullpens I'm going to be throwing here in the next few days will probably determine the timeline."

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."