There were a lot of reasons to be skeptical of the 7 year, $161 million contract that the Orioles signed Chris Davis to back in January 2016. There is no questioning the power production that he had put up to that point, but when the first year of a deal like that is during a guy’s age 30 season AND that player also doesn’t have any defensive value AND struck out a third of the time (along with other hit tool red flags), that should give anyone pause in terms of offering a long-term deal.
However, the contract turned into a nightmare very quickly for the Orioles and for Davis. After putting up a 2.9 fWAR season during the 2016 season, injuries and the shocking inability to make contact led to him posting -5.2 fWAR total in the three seasons he played after that. Injuries to his back and hip (including surgery on his hip) kept him from playing at all in 2021 and today, Davis announced that he was retiring.
Chris Davis has announced his retirement. pic.twitter.com/3QKvErwTzn— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 12, 2021
It is truly a shame that Davis could not turn things around and help the Orioles get back to prominence as it seems like both sides have a genuine amount of affection and admiration for one another. He retires with not only a healthy wallet, but also with a 3rd place finish in AL MVP voting, an All-Star appearance, and a Silver Slugger award all from the 2013 season. While his 54 at-bat streak of going without a hit during the 2018 and 2019 seasons is what many recalled about him most recently, there was a time where he was a tremendously valuable player on the field and he continued to be a stand-up human being. We wish Chris nothing but the best of luck as he recovers and enjoys his retirement.