In one of the more surprising developments of the 2016 season, Khris Davis hit more home runs than Chris Davis.
Khris Davis also drove in more runs, reaching career highs in both categories. But he got paid a heck of a lot less.
The Orioles’ Davis ended the year with 38 home runs and 84 RBIs, significant drops from the 47 homers and 117 RBIs in 2015 that led to his seven-year, $161 million contract.
Khris Davis, in his first season with the Athletics after three with the Brewers, totaled 42 home runs and 102 RBIs while making $525,000. He’s arbitration-eligible this winter.
It wasn’t uncommon to find Chris Davis with an ice pack wrapped around his hand. Davis jammed it into second base in April on an awkward slide at Tropicana Field, which may have triggered the discomfort that stayed with him through the summer.
Manager Buck Showalter never offered specifics on Davis’ physical condition as the Orioles were fighting for a playoff berth, just confirming that everyone on the team was dealing with something and no one would be 100 percent until weeks after the season.
“There’s so many things like that that are going on, you’re always careful about telling truths that hurt innocent people, and Chris wanted nobody to look at it as an excuse,” Showalter said yesterday.
“He had some discomfort there and it was a challenge for him the last couple months of the season.”
An uneven season.
Davis homered in five consecutive games from June 7-12, went 11 games without one, then homered in five of the next seven. He went 19 games without a home run from July 15-Aug. 6, but hit five within a four-game span from Aug. 17-20.
Davis also hit five home runs within nine games to open the month of September. He came up empty in the last 15 games and the wild card game.
Davis’ slash line fell from .262/.361/.562 in 2015, when he finished 14th in Most Valuable Player voting in the American League, to .221/.332/.459 this season.
“It was one of those years that you keep waiting for him to get into one of those periods, which he did a couple times, but not extended. And I think that had a lot to do with it,” Showalter said.
“It was very frustrating for him. It got to the point where two days off wasn’t going to do it.”
I’ve heard some rumblings within the organization that Davis, who played in 157 games, might have benefited from a trip to the disabled list.
“We did the X-rays and everything,” Showalter said. “It’s just sometimes you’re in a sport where you can’t give something time to get back to 100 percent and I could stay that about probably 10 or 15 guys.
“We’ve got a couple little small health issues, not with him, but a couple of our players that will have minor surgeries, nothing that will get in the way.”
On a separate topic, Showalter said moving Davis to right field to create a spot for first baseman Trey Mancini is something to keep in the back of his mind. However, Showalter has been promoting Davis for a Gold Glove to anyone within earshot.
“There’s a lot of unknown about Trey defensively at the major league level, but he’s presented himself very well down there,” Showalter said. “Works very hard at it. I’m glad we have options there and somebody from our system. And I wouldn’t forget about Christian Walker. He’s another guy who could be in the mix, but we’ll see.”