Chris Davis made waves across the Orioles fan base earlier in the week when he questioned the state of the franchise's rebuild. It was a fair question to ask for a veteran wondering what his future looks like, but it wasn't one that was welcomed by fans.
Davis has struggled mightily since signing his record-breaking seven-year, $161 million contract prior to the 2016 season, and that albatross of a deal has made him the biggest target for fans' vitriol over the last few seasons.
The hulking first baseman still has two years left on his deal, though seemingly most fans would prefer the team just eat the sunk cost and move on. Until that happens, though, Davis isn't planning on going anywhere.
"My desire to play has nothing to do with the amount of money I’m owed," Davis told reporters on Wednesday. "I enjoy playing the game. I want to play for myself, my teammates, and for the people of Baltimore.”
He also knows that while fans and ownership may regret giving him such a big deal, it's not his fault he got overpaid. Players should be more empowered, not less, so it's hard to blame him for continuing to cash his fully guaranteed paychecks.
"I’m not going anywhere," Davis said in reference to his contract. "I’m not giving up, not throwing in the towel. I understand the club is trying to cut payroll and I’m the one big lump they’re kind of stuck with. But they knew what they were signing up for when they took the job.”
Davis earned his contract fair and square, and he's been an exemplary figure in the greater Baltimore community since day one. But his contract looks especially cumbersome in light of the revenue Major League Baseball lost during the pandemic-altered 2020 season. Teams don't know what next year will look like either, considering the fact that COVID-19 is spreading faster than ever. So contracts like Davis' that are worth almost as much as the rest of the team combined stand out even more.
The longtime veteran and team leader recognizes that, but at the end of the day, it won't matter in the eyes of fans unless he completely turns around his career on the field -- an unlikely scenario, to say the least -- or he is no longer playing in Baltimore.