Today’s virtual Winter Meetings activity for the Orioles on its third day impacts the scouting department, the kind of behind-the-scenes move that’s common during the traditional in-person gatherings.
According to an industry source, the Orioles are hiring Quincy Boyd as an area scout.
Boyd has served as a national scouting supervisor with the Red Sox since February 2018. He was promoted to regional crosschecker in December 2012 after working as an area scout for North Carolina and South Carolina since 2007. He also was a scout for the club in the Midwest region in 2006.
Perhaps the biggest score of Boyd’s tenure was signing outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., a first-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina.
Boyd lives in the Charlotte, N.C., area. He’s replacing Rich Morales, who’s left the Orioles to accept a West Coast position with the Mets, per a source.
Morales won the Jim Russo Scout of the Year Award in 2018. Three of his signings made their major league debuts that summer: outfielder Cedric Mullins, catcher Austin Wynns and pitcher Ryan Meisinger.
This is the second confirmed change in the scouting department during the offseason. Scott Thomas, the son of longtime executive Lee Thomas, also left the organization in October. He was based in St. Louis.
Meanwhile, Chris Davis told the local media today in a Zoom conference call that he’ll report to spring training as expected and try to secure a job as the regular first baseman.
Davis has two years and $46 million left on his franchise-record $161 million contract. He didn’t consider retirement in the offseason, though the topic came up again with his wife, Jill.
“We’re both 100 percent committed to being in Sarasota, whenever that may be. Whether it’s in a few months or whenever it is for spring training. And as far as I’m concerned, still being ready to play 162 games, 150-however many games, and ready to be the everyday first baseman,” Davis said.
“I know that’s changed a little bit in some people’s minds, but in my mind, I don’t feel like it’s really doing me any favors to go into it thinking that I’m anything other than that.”
The idea of retiring was more pronounced last winter. Davis said he felt like the truncated season didn’t allow him to get a “fair shake,” which removed the thought of quitting from the table.
“I don’t want it to end the way that things have gone the last few years for me. There’s more of a story to be told,” said Davis, who twice went on the disabled list this year with left knee patella tendinitis, appeared in only 16 games and slashed .115/.164/.173 (6-for-52) with one RBI.
“As far as my contract goes, it is what it is. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not giving up. I’m not throwing in the towel. I understand the club’s in a position right now where they’re trying to cut payroll and I’m the one big lump that they’re kind of stuck with. But they knew what they were signing up for when they took the job.”
The Orioles aren’t going to release Davis with more uncertainty surrounding the length of the 2021 season. They saved around $14.5 million on the contract this summer because of the reduction to 60 games, per the agreement between the league and union established in March.
Players released by their clubs receive full pay.
“My desire to play has nothing to do with the amount of money that I’m owed or the amount of money I’m going to make. I want to play the game because I feel that I can still compete,” Davis said.
“I enjoy playing the game. I want to play the game, not only for myself, but for my teammates, for our fan base, for the people of Baltimore. I still feel like there’s something that I have left to give. And to be honest with you, I don’t really want my career to end on the note that it’s on right now.”
The offseason for Davis has involved rehabbing the knee, which required a platelet-rich plasma injection over the season, working on a left hip that lacks motion - a condition found in 2019 during a visit to OnBase University, an offshoot of the Titleist Performance Institute in California that studies a hitter’s movements - and again going through a mental reset.
“It’s just been a lot of trying to figure out what was going on physically, trying to find answers, trying to find out what I could do to get back to 100 percent physically and being ready to start the next season injury-free and not worrying about anything,” Davis said.
“I’ve done a lot of rehab here not too far from where I live (In Dallas), just physical therapy as far as my left knee and hip and ankle are concerned, kind of my whole left side on my lower half, and really I think I’m still going through everything we just went through and gearing up for maybe having to do something like that again in the next few months.”
Davis said he knew upon reporting for summer training camp that he wasn’t fine physically or close to where he was back in February and March.
“But in my mind, I felt like I had to at least give it a shot given the results I saw early in the first spring (training), so that was probably the most taxing thing physically, mentally, emotionally, just to kind of wear that,” he said.
“I think the biggest thing for me this offseason so far has just been to get away from everything. Obviously, I have to get back to 100 percent health, which I feel like I’m doing. But for me, I really think it’s just taking a step back and taking a break. I’ve been really grinding, especially during the offseasons the last couple of years, and I think it’s just taken a toll on me. I’ve talked to several guys who have gone through similar things in their careers and pretty much everybody has kind of said the same thing. Maybe it’s just time to take a step back and take a deep breath and get back after it after the beginning of the year, whenever it is.”
The game remains fun for Davis. Otherwise, it might be easier to walk away from it.
“Yeah, it is, it is, and it wasn’t at time,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you, there were times when I was really kind of standing back and looking at everything and thinking, ‘What the heck am I doing?’ But it is.
“I think this past season, that was probably the biggest question for me going into it was, ‘Am I going to be able to have fun doing this in this environment without any fans, with really no contact with the outside world, with just the guys?’ And while I did miss having fans at games, and that really took a lot of joy out of it for me, it was still fun for me to go in there every day and be with the guys. To go through that kind of weird setup and scenario as far as the season was laid out, to go to the field every day and see those guys and just being around them, and being a part of something that’s bigger than you, it still is fun for me.”
The infield could undergo dramatic changes. José Iglesias has been traded to the Angels and Hanser Alberto is a free agent after the Orioles non-tendered him. There are several options at first base, including Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle.
“It’s tough to really know what to make of it right now,” Davis said. “There is no doubt that we’re in a rebuilding phase and personally I kind of wonder where that rebuild is headed. Are we talking a complete rebuild, are we talking we’re going to try to start things over from scratch and only have younger players, players that this new regime has drafted, that they’ve brought in, that they’re brought up?
“I think that they’re trying to get the most out of the guys that we have now and sometimes that means you have to lose some of the guys who have been productive for you. The tough thing about being an older player in the situation I’m in, a lot of times the moves that are made are going to affect the team in a more positive way when you’re not on the team.”