Tag Archive | "Chris Davis"

Schoop should stick with Orioles in wake of Davis injury

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Schoop should stick with Orioles in wake of Davis injury

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Luke Jones

It all appeared to be coming together as third baseman Manny Machado started his rehab assignment and the Orioles anticipated having their full lineup together for the first time all season.

Of course, a left oblique strain suffered by Chris Davis has delayed that vision indefinitely, but Machado is expected to return this week, instantly boosting the infield defense as well as helping an offense now devoid of Davis’ Herculean power. Even with the All-Star third baseman’s return, the injury to Davis forces manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to alter the way in which they view the starting lineup.

Even if Nick Markakis proves capable of handling the defensive duties of first base — his errant throw on a rundown play led to a run in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City — he’s a significant downgrade offensively just like any realistic replacement would be. It’s why the Orioles may need to take chances elsewhere in trying to make up for Davis’ absence.

In addition to Nelson Cruz filling a full-time outfield role with Markakis in the infield, the Orioles would be wise to continue playing Jonathan Schoop at second base after Machado officially returns. His future appeared to be the club’s biggest roster decision a few days ago as the argument could be made that Schoop needs more seasoning and both Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Flaherty are stronger defensive players.

But when missing a player of Davis’ ability, the Orioles would benefit from Schoop’s offensive upside while also remembering he’s handled 30 chances at second base without an error. The 22-year-old has struggled bouncing back and forth between second and third base due to the Orioles’ injury-related needs in the first month of the season, but his four errors have all come while playing the hot corner.

“He’s going to turn the double play well above average with arm strength,” said Showalter when asked to assess Schoop’s play at second base. “That’s one thing that steps out at you. He could profile down the road as an offensive run producer that can play the middle infield. We’ll see. I feel confident that Jonathan is going to be as good as he’s capable of being. That’s what makes me feel good about him.”

Truthfully, his offensive numbers don’t overwhelm you as Schoop is hitting just .241 and has struck out 26 times in his first 82 plate appearances as major league pitchers continue to challenge him with breaking balls, but his numbers dwarf Flaherty’s paltry .188 average and he has more power (.405 slugging percentage) than Lombardozzi (.333), who appears best suited for a utility role.

We’ve seen with Showalter’s patient handling of Flaherty that defense can trump offensive production with the rest of the lineup so dangerous, but the Orioles must be more judicious in that approach with Davis missing from the order. Schoop has given no reason to indicate he can’t play a solid second base — the position at which he had the most experience in the minor leagues — and is fifth on the club in total bases and first in doubles.

The rockets he hit in New York and Toronto earlier this month for his two home runs show what kind of power potential he brings to the table. It’d be interesting to see what he can do without the unrest of switching positions on a regular basis weight on his mind.

“You can be in the big leagues 10 years and it’s never going to be easy, but I think the game’s slowing down a little bit,” Schoop said. “I’ve still got to get better. In situations, I’ve got to think what I’m going to do before the ball comes to me. I’ve got to get better.”

A few days ago, it would have been easy for the Orioles to send Schoop to Triple-A Norfolk and settle on the strong defensive platoon of Flaherty and Lombardozzi at second base while watching the rest of the lineup wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. But with Davis sidelined and his teammates trying to pick up the slack, the second base position needs to provide some of the offensive lifting.

While far from a finished product, the Curacao native has shown more than enough flashes for the Orioles to take a chance that he’ll be up to the task.

“I’m glad he’s on our side. He’s got a chance to be a pretty good one,” Showalter said. “But we’ll see where he settles out and see how things go with Manny in the next few days.”

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Davis headed to 15-day DL with strained oblique

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Davis headed to 15-day DL with strained oblique

Posted on 27 April 2014 by WNST Staff

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Orioles move Markakis to first base with Davis sidelined

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Orioles move Markakis to first base with Davis sidelined

Posted on 26 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Veteran right fielder Nick Markakis prepared to make his third career start at first base Saturday night as the Orioles awaited the results of Chris Davis’ magnetic resonance imaging scan on the strained left oblique he suffered in Friday’s loss to the Kansas City Royals.

Davis told reporters he was feeling a little better on Saturday, and manager Buck Showalter described the All-Star first baseman as “day to day” for the time being. The Orioles are hoping Davis can avoid a trip to the 15-day disabled list and scheduled days off on Monday and Thursday would ease the hardship of him being unavailable for a few days.

Markakis hadn’t started a game at first base since Sept. 4, 2011 and was on the field early Saturday afternoon working at the position where he’d only appeared three times in his nine-year career. Showalter moved Nelson Cruz to right field and placed the newly-recalled Jemile Weeks in the leadoff spot as the designated hitter with Markakis moving to the No. 3 position in the lineup.

Whether Markakis remains the first baseman in Davis’ absence is undetermined, but the Orioles have few options on the 25-man roster after designating veteran Steve Pearce for assignment earlier this week. Showalter indicated hesitancy in moving catcher Matt Wieters to first base when he’s not starting behind the plate.

Markakis played first base extensively at Young Harris College before the Orioles drafted him with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 amateur draft.

“He’s one of our options,” said Showalter, who moved Ryan Flaherty to first base when Davis exited in the fifth inning of Friday’s game. “We’ll see how it presents itself tonight. [Nick] takes some work there every once in a while.”

Davis’ immediate future remains up in the air, but the Orioles are optimistic about Manny Machado’s pending return to the lineup after the 21-year-old third baseman went 1-for-4 and started at third base in Single-A Frederick’s 4-2 loss to Carolina on Saturday. Machado is scheduled to play third base once again at Frederick on Sunday before the Orioles decide whether he’ll continue playing for the Keys or will move to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday.

Showalter didn’t dismiss the possibility of Machado rejoining the Orioles for their two-game series against Pittsburgh that begins on Tuesday, but next weekend appears to be the logical target for his return when Baltimore travels to Minnesota to take on the Twins.

“I wouldn’t say anything is [off] the table right now,” said Showalter, who dismissed the notion that Davis’ injury might rush the timetable to activate Machado. “It’s a baseball decision right now as much as physical.. We will have a pretty good idea after tomorrow.”

Here are Saturday night’s lineups:

KANSAS CITY
RF Nori Aoki
2B Omar Infante
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
3B Danny Valencia
CF Justin Maxwell
SS Alcides Escobar

SP Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 4.68 ERA)

BALTIMORE
DH Jemile Weeks
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Ryan Flaherty
2B Jonathan Schoop
LF David Lough

SP Wei-Yin Chen (3-1, 4.91 ERA)

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If Davis is down, Morales should be next man up

Posted on 26 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Ryan Flaherty, anyone?

Yesterday afternoon, it looked as if the Orioles’ lineup was going to be healthy and at full-tilt with the return of Manny Machado in about a week.  Now, with Chris Davis’ injury status up in the air, it’s back to counting on players like Ryan Flaherty to play everyday in an effort to pick up the slack.

Insert a hearty and collective “no thanks,” here.

Flaherty is sporting a .183 batting average to go with three RBI in 2014; certainly not the type of numbers you’d want from an everyday player, let alone a corner-infielder.

Chris Davis’ oblique strain could result in a visit to the 15-Day Disabled List, but nothing has been reported thus far. Either way, injuries like oblique strains are the type that can linger and result in season-long issues for hitters, especially free-swingers like Davis.

Enter, the solution: Kendry Morales.

Considering the Orioles had serious interest in Morales already, it’s safe to assume that the text message count between Dan Duquette and Morales’ agent, Scott Boras is rapidly increasing.

Whether Davis’ injury is serious in nature or not, signing Morales now would make all the sense in the world.  Unlike other potential suitors, such as Oakland, Seattle, and Milwaukee, the Orioles don’t have a first-round draft pick to lose if they ink Morales to a deal prior MLB’s, June 5th-7th, amateur draft.

If the Orioles were to sign Morales today, it would result in losing a third-round draft choice, as the club has already forfeited its first and second-round choices in exchange for signing Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz.

Should the Orioles continue to wait until after June’s draft, they’ll have to contend with the aforementioned teams and will most likely lose-out in a bidding war.  Prior to the draft, other teams have been reluctant to hand-away the compensatory first-round choice that it would take to sign Morales, but after the draft, the rule is no longer in play.

Whether or not Davis is headed for the disabled list shouldn’t be the deciding factor in bringing Morales into the fold.  The fact that Davis has had a pedestrian start to the season, coupled with a fresh injury that could linger, should be more than enough justification for adding an insurance policy on the player who is largely considered to be the biggest piece of a Baltimore lineup that is built for home-runs.

In a young season where the Orioles still have every chance to compete for a division title, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would welcome the sound of “now batting, first baseman, Ryan Flaherty,” for the long haul.

Kendry Morales is the answer and he’s right there for the taking.

 

 

 

 

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Orioles set to recall Weeks while waiting on Davis’ status

Posted on 26 April 2014 by Luke Jones

As they hold their breath over the status of injured first baseman Chris Davis, the Orioles will reportedly recall infielder Jemile Weeks to fill the roster spot vacated by left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk Friday night.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Baltimore will promote Weeks and return to a 12-man pitching staff while continuing to wait on the health of Davis, who left Friday night’s game with a strained left oblique. Manager Buck Showalter and Davis expressed optimism that the injury may not be serious, but oblique strains typically take some time to fully heal.

Acquired from the Oakland Athletics in the Jim Johnson trade over the winter, Weeks is hitting .296 with four doubles, three triples, and seven runs batted in for the Tides this year.

While Weeks provides extra infield depth, the Orioles must still sort out the first base position in Davis’ absence after designating reserve outfielder and first baseman Steve Pearce for assignment earlier this week. Ryan Flaherty moved to first base in Friday’s 5-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals, but Showalter wouldn’t commit to the .179-hitting Flaherty handling that spot when asked about the possibility after the game.

Right fielder Nick Markakis has played first base in the major leagues, but is three career games enough to make Showalter comfortable with a position change that would also potentially weaken the outfield defense?

Norfolk first baseman Brett Wallace is currently hitting .167 in 72 at-bats at Triple A, so he wouldn’t appear to be a viable option.

Would executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette even entertain the possibility of promoting Double-A Bowie first baseman Christian Walker, who is off to a hot start with a .315 average, four home runs, and 18 runs batted in for the Baysox?

Or, will the Orioles get lucky and Davis only ends up missing a couple games?

Regardless of what happens, it’s an uneasy feeling for the Orioles as they were closer than ever to getting their full infield back with third baseman Manny Machado collecting two doubles and a triple Friday night to begin his minor league rehab assignment at Single-A Frederick.

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Davis leaves Friday’s game with left oblique strain

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Davis leaves Friday’s game with left oblique strain

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the same night that Manny Machado got off to an encouraging start in a minor league rehab assignment, the Orioles lost another All-Star infielder to injury when Chris Davis left Friday’s game with a strained left oblique.

The first baseman was removed from the game in the top of the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter before the Orioles announced that he would be evaluated further after the game. Davis appeared to be in discomfort while taking swings in his final at-bat of the evening when he flied out to right field in the bottom of the third inning.

“When I started swinging, [I] felt good in the cage before the game, [but] a couple swings off of [Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura] just didn’t feel good,” said Davis, who acknowledged the oblique had been bothering him for a few days. “At that point, Buck kind of took it out of my hands. Something that we’re going to keep an eye on and hopefully not let it get too bad right now. It’s too early for that.

“We’ll know more about it tomorrow. I’ve never had an oblique strain or whatever you want to call it, but it doesn’t feel so bad right now that I can’t move or anything like that, so I think right now, we’ll just take it one day at a time.”

In Davis’ absence, the Orioles shifted third baseman Ryan Flaherty to first base, second baseman Jonathan Schoop to third, and inserted Steve Lombardozzi in the game at second base. Davis is hitting .250 with two home runs and 13 runs batted in through the first 22 games of the season after slugging a franchise single-season record of 53 homers a year ago.

Machado tripled and doubled twice in his first three trips to the plate Friday as he began a rehab assignment with Single-A Frederick, making Davis’ injury a cruel twist as the Orioles have yet to play with their full starting infield this season. Typically, discomfort from an oblique injury lingers without proper rest, meaning it often results in a trip to the disabled list.

“Until we can judge what stage it is, it’s a little premature because he’s a well-conditioned, strong guy,” Showalter said. “He’s a tough guy. He plays through a lot of things. You take the proper precautions and see where you are in the next couple of days. He’s worth waiting on.”

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Bovada sets Chris Davis 2014 home run total at 39.5

Posted on 25 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV). Here are some of the more interesting player stats.

Baltimore Orioles

Chris Davis – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season   

Over/Under                   39½

 

Chris Davis – Total RBI’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   113½

 

Adam Jones – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   30½

 

Adam Jones – Total RBI’s in the 2014 Regular Season 

Over/Under                   95½

 

Nelson Cruz – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   25½

 

Matt Wieters – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   23½

 

J.J. Hardy – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season      

Over/Under                   24½

 

Nick Markakis – BA in the 2014 Regular Season           

Over/Under                   .285

 

Ubaldo Jimenez – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season       

Over/Under                   12½

 

Chris Tillman – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                   11½

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Should Adam Jones, others be more vocal about Orioles’ offseason?

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Should Adam Jones, others be more vocal about Orioles’ offseason?

Posted on 23 January 2014 by Luke Jones

A pair of All-Star players recently provided differing takes on the Orioles’ offseason that spark an interesting debate with the start of spring training less than a month away.

First baseman Chris Davis expressed concern last week that the club has yet to add a veteran starting pitcher to help anchor the rotation while center fielder Adam Jones offered a softer stance to MLB.com this week in saying that the Orioles don’t need high-profile names to contend this season.

“My expectations, personally, are always with the team,” said Jones, who signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract in the spring of 2012. “I know one thing about us – we’re going to be ready to grind and show up ready to play. We don’t need the bigger names on the jerseys. We don’t need all that. We just need 25 men who are ready and willing. We’re all for the common goal. Right now, I know that [manager Buck] Showalter is going to pick the best 25 for Opening Day to ride into the sunset with.”

It’s no secret that disenchantment reigns supreme among fans with the acquisitions of 28-year-old left fielder David Lough, relief pitcher Ryan Webb, and right-handed designated hitter candidate Delmon Young highlighting an underwhelming winter that follows the Orioles’ second consecutive winning season — but one that did not include a second straight postseason berth. Baltimore’s projected payroll for the 2014 season currently sits in the neighborhood of $83 million, down almost $10 million from where it was at the start of 2013.

Those realities raise the question of what place standout players such as Jones and Davis hold in voicing their concerns over the direction of the club. While they’re obviously employees who want to remain in good standing — specifically Davis, who just received a $7.05 million raise and isn’t scheduled for free agency until after the 2015 season — it’s also human nature as competitors to become frustrated watching the organization trade closer Jim Johnson in a salary dump and allow others to depart without adding any significant names to augment an 85-win club from a year ago.

Veteran right fielder Nick Markakis famously questioned the direction of the Orioles in the summer of 2010 after a horrendous 18-48 start to the season, but those comments came under far bleaker circumstances.

If you’re Jones, Davis, or any other notable player, is there an appropriate way to hold your employer accountable without damaging your working relationship beyond repair?

Is it too big of a risk to make critical remarks that could be interpreted the wrong way by current teammates and potentially damage the clubhouse culture?

Since he’s signed through the 2018 season, does Jones hold a longer leash than any other teammate to question whether the club is sincerely trying to get better? If so, should he use that freedom to voice concerns as the leader of the team and as one who’s never shied away from speaking his mind?

Most importantly, does it even really matter if he does?

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Davis, four other Orioles agree to contracts to avoid arbitration

Posted on 17 January 2014 by WNST Staff

Of the six Orioles players eligible for arbitration this winter, five have reportedly agreed to deals ahead of Friday’s 1 p.m. deadline for each side to submit binding arbitration figures.

First baseman Chris Davis, right-handed pitchers Tommy Hunter and Bud Norris, and left-handed pitchers Brian Matusz and Troy Patton all agreed to one-year contracts to avoid arbitration. However, catcher Matt Wieters and the Orioles will exchange figures with a hearing to be scheduled next month.

Of the five players to reach contract agreements, Davis will receive the biggest raise as his $3.3 million salary from 2013 will reportedly increase to $10.35 million with additional performance bonuses, according to CBS Sports. The 27-year-old hit a club-record 53 home runs last season and finished third in American League MVP voting.

Davis is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

Hunter will see his salary increase from $1.82 million last season to $3 million while Norris will make $5.3 million compared to $3 million in 2013.

Matusz agreed to a $2.4 million contract, an $800,000 raise from a year ago, while Patton will make $1.27 million after collecting $815,000 a year ago.

Wieters made $5.5 million last season and would become the first Orioles player since pitcher Brad Bergesen in 2012 to take the club to arbitration if he fails to reach an agreement. The sides having the choice to continue working on an agreement prior to then.

The 27-year-old catcher is scheduled to become a free agent after 2015.

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Fanfare perhaps dimmed, but no doubting Flacco as “Local Sportsperson of the Year”

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Fanfare perhaps dimmed, but no doubting Flacco as “Local Sportsperson of the Year”

Posted on 31 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

After leading the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl title in 12 years with a brilliant 11 touchdown, zero interception performance in the playoffs, quarterback Joe Flacco was a near unanimous choice as WNST’s annual “Local Sportsperson of the Year” for 2013.

This probably would have been a more exciting announcement had we made it in April or May. Charm City sports fans are well aware of the up and down 2013 season Flacco had that ended with the team missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season-making the conversation leading up to the award perhaps a bit more interesting than it should have been considering exactly what Flacco accomplished in the first five weeks of calendar 2013.

It actually even lead to a bit of a surprise in WNST voting, as one WNST voter voted for Orioles 1B Chris Davis instead of voting for Joe Flacco. That voter will explain their decision in the coming days, but was the reason why Flacco was only a “near” unanimous choice instead of a completely unanimous choice.

For the rest of the WNST voters, the decision was quite simple. Here is a reminder of the criteria for our yearly honor.

First, the person must be local. They must be an athlete, coach or front office member for a pro, college or high school team in the state of Maryland. Individual sport athletes who represent the state of Maryland also qualify.

Second, the person must stand out from other people over the course of the 12 calendar months. The accomplishments of that individual must be comparable to if not greater than the accomplishments of others in the area.

And finally, that person’s year must stand out from other years during their tenure/career in the area.

It’s fairly simple criteria that has guided the choice made each year. Flacco joins Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps (2008), Morgan State basketball coach Todd Bozeman (2009), Former Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez (2010), Towson football coach Rob Ambrose (2011) and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (2012) as winners of the award. Flacco is the first Baltimore Raven to receive the honor since inception.

Flacco beat out fellow finalists Davis, Stevenson lacrosse coach Paul Cantabene, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Towson RB Terrance West in claiming the title.

In the first few years of WNST determining a “Local Sportsperson of the Year”, D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction host Drew Forrester said something about a particular vote that has resonated in years that followed in making the decision. Forrester identified who he was voting for and then said “he made more people smile this year than anyone else.”

It was that thought process that made the choice of Flacco fairly easy to most at WNST. For all of the accomplishments of the other finalists-Cantabene guiding a team to the first national championship in ANY sport in school history, Davis crushing a team record 53 home runs, West crushing the record for most records broken in a single season (Editor’s note: that might not be factual. It just certainly feels that way)-none did more for the city of Baltimore than the quarterback did to start the year.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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