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Chris Davis Rumors
12:30pm: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Davis did not have a TUE for Adderall in 2013 (Twitter links). His previous TUE came earlier in his career than last year’s breakout. As Passan notes, this opens the possibility that Davis’ first positive test (which would only result in a warning) came prior to the 2014 season. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Davis has been diagnosed with ADD in the past but did not apply for a TUE in 2013.
11:32am: Davis did not apply for a therapeutic use exemption from the league this season, tweets Connolly. In a followup tweet, Connolly reminds that a 2012-13 study showed that 122 Major Leaguers had TUEs — 119 of which were for ADD.
“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans. I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”
That Davis has been suspended means that would have had to test positive twice for a banned stimulant such as Adderall.
10:10am: Orioles first baseman Chris Davis‘ season is over as he has been suspended 25 games after testing positive for amphetamines, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. MLB has since confirmed the suspension, which will run through the postseason.
It’s unclear exactly what substance Davis used, but those making the leap to steroids should note that even the usage of fairly common stimulants like Adderall can result in a 25-game suspension (as Troy Patton proved earlier this season). That’s not to excuse Davis, of course, as this is a grave mistake at the worst possible time, and the substances are banned without receiving exemptions from the league.
Baltimore currently leads the AL East by 10 games and will now be without Davis’ game-changing power for the final two-plus weeks and all of the ALDS and the ALCS. The ALCS roster would, of course, have to be set before the series begins, meaning that the Orioles would have to play a man down for the first few games of that series in order for him to be reinstated midway through. It’s highly unlikely that a team would agree to play with 24 men in such an important series, meaning the earliest Davis would likely be eligible to return would be in the World Series, should Baltimore advance to that stage.
Davis is hitting just .196/.300/.404 after his breakout 53-homer campaign last season, thanks in part due to an increased strikeout rate (33 percent) and an abnormally low batting average on balls in play (.242). Baltimore added some depth to its roster late in August by adding Kelly Johnson and Alejandro De Aza via trade, and the emergence of Steve Pearce gives the team another corner bat on which to rely. Nevertheless, the loss of Davis is a big blow to a team that has already lost Manny Machado and Matt Wieters for the season.
From a financial standpoint, Davis’ suspension will cost him about $1.07MM, as he won’t be paid while on the restricted list. He is earning $10.35MM this season as he approaches his final offseason of arbitration eligiblity.
This year more than ever, it seems an enormous number of pitchers have suffered injuries that required Tommy John surgery. That includes big-leaguers like Matt Moore, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker, along with potential first-round picks in Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde. But as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal notes, the prognosis for pitchers who have Tommy John surgeries is now very good, and teams are much more cautious about diagnosing significant problems than they used to be. MacPherson quotes a number of former big-league pitchers whose experiences would seem wildly out of place today. “Everybody kept thinking, ‘If I had surgery, it might be the end of my career, so I’m going to pitch until it blows, and then that’s the end of my career,’” says former Orioles, Red Sox, Royals and Brewers hurler Mike Boddicker, who pitched in the big leagues until 1993. “It used to be that you had some inflammation — tendinitis. That was the big thing. You had tendinitis. You look some anti-inflammatories, and you’d rest a little bit, and then you’d keep going.” Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Aroldis Chapman‘s return after a stay on the disabled list with a head injury allows the Reds plenty of flexibility in their bullpen, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Chapman’s addition bumps Jonathan Broxton back to a setup role. The Reds have been fortunate in that their starters have worked deep into games, meaning that their bullpen likely won’t be overworked going forward. “There’s just not a lot of opportunities for these guys to come in the fifth or sixth and, sometimes, the seventh inning,” says manager Bryan Price. “We’ve spent a lot of time closing a game with one to two innings of bullpen work.”
- Chris Davis made an appearance for Double-A Bowie on Saturday to rehab his injured oblique, and he feels he’s ready to return to the Orioles, MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski tweets. Davis last appeared in a game for the Orioles on April 25, and Steve Pearce has largely handled first-base duties since then.
Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette appeared on Buster Olney’s podcast today and discussed a variety of topics, including Kendrys Morales (Duquette appears around the 27:00 mark). Asked by Olney about the speculation that Morales could help his team, Duquette replied, “We don’t have any plans to add anybody to our ball club right now … Matt Wieters, with the issue he has in with his elbow, is going to take some at-bats in our DH position, so we’re all set. When we signed Nelson Cruz, that pretty much closed the door on that speculation.” Duquette also talked about his team’s strong start to the year in spite of several injuries as well as Manny Machado‘s elite defense. More from that interview and the rest of the AL East below…
- Duquette also fielded questions on the contract status of Wieters and Chris Davis (around the 36:20 mark), noting that the club has twice tried to extend Wieters and once tried to extend Davis as well. “I like Chris and Matt on the ball club, but having said that, we’ve already made that effort, and I’m not really going to be discussing that this year during the season with those players.” Both Wieters and Davis are Scott Boras clients, which makes the task of hammering out a long-term deal a more difficult one, as Boras typically encourages his players to go year-to-year and test the open market.
- Shifting gears from the O’s to the Blue Jays, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm tweets that the main reason behind Juan Francisco choosing to sign in Toronto was a recruiting pitch from Edwin Encarnacion. After Francisco was cut by the Brewers in Spring Training, Encarnacion called his countryman and pitched Toronto, and the result has been a .311/.403/.623 batting line with five homers in 72 PAs for Francisco.
- In a special piece for ESPN New York, Danny Knobler writes that the perception of the Yankees as an “old-school” team is misleading. Knobler spoke with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who called the Yankees “way more [progressive] than people think.” Knobler also points out that the Yankees trail only the Astros in terms of infield shifting this season, a fact that isn’t lost on division rival Joe Maddon. The Rays skipper told Knobler: “They’re exceeding us. It doesn’t surprise me. It disappoints me. I much preferred when they thought we were nuts, that we were bastardizing the game.”
Orioles slugger Chris Davis is headed to the disabled list with a strained oblique, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Davis had an MRI on Saturday. Davis was off to a relatively slow .250/.372/.382 start in 94 plate appearances this season. Third baseman Manny Machado (knee) has begun a rehab assignment at Class A+ Frederick and should soon make his 2014 season debut, which ought to dull Orioles’ fans pain somewhat. Here are a couple more quick notes on injuries.
- Brewers shortstop Jean Segura required plastic surgery after Ryan Braun inadvertently struck Segura with his bat. But Segura was not concussed and did not have a fracture, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel tweets.
- Braun himself later left the Brewers’ game against the Cubs with an intercostal strain, Andrew Gruman of FOX Sports Wisconsin tweets. Braun is day-to-day, and as ugly a day as it was for him, it sounds like both he and Segura will be fine.
Chris Davis and the Orioles have not made progress recently on a contract extension, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com reports. "Not that I know of and you guys are pretty good about finding things out," said Davis, when asked if there had been any new developments. "I'm sure if anything is said, we'll be talking about it, but those are for Scott (Boras) and Dan (Duquette). I have way too much to focus on here."
Davis is making $10.35MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He can become a free agent after 2015, when he should be able to land a big contract, given that he'll only be heading into his age-30 season. The first baseman hit .286/.370/.634 with 53 homers in 673 plate appearances with the Orioles in 2013. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who is also a Boras client, will also be eligible for free agency after 2015.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette spoke with reporters today, including MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli, and covered a host of topics, beginning with Manny Machado. The standout third baseman called his $519K salary for the 2014 season "disappointing" last night, but Ghiroli reports that Machado will also receive a $100K bonus for winning a Platinum Glove award — an award being the best defensive player, regardless of position, in the league. Here's more on Machado and the Orioles…
- Duquette told Ghiroli and others today that the team visited the idea of a long-term deal for Machado last year, but talks didn't come to fruition. Those talks weren't resumed this spring, as the focus has been on getting Machado healthy. The third baseman said to Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com (Twitter link), however, that he likes the idea: "I’d be up for it, I’m open to it. Nothing has come up yet."
- Duquette added that there is no progress to report on extension talks with J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis or Matt Wieters. Hardy told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that it's been 17 days since his agent even had discussions with the Orioles' front office (Twitter link). He's set to hit free agency next winter, while Davis and Wieters are controlled through 2015. Machado, of course, is under control for much longer and cannot become a free agent until the 2018-19 offseason.
- The market for Ervin Santana has become "interesting," per Duquette, who alluded to the fact that other teams are beginning to show interest due to various injuries in camp. Most notably, the Braves have begun to show interest in Santana after an MRI showed ligament damage in Kris Medlen's right elbow.
- Ghiroli wrote last night that top prospect Jonathan Schoop is impressing the Orioles both on and off the field with his relentless work ethic and his constant desire to pick the brains of veteran players to learn something new. Schoop added a good deal of muscle this offseason and is making a strong case to open the season as Baltimore's second baseman. However, he'd never be here if his baseball coach at age 13 hadn't slapped him on the back of the head and pulled him off a soccer field, Schoop recalled. The now-6'2", 228-pound Schoop had decided to try focusing on soccer, believing himself to be too small (he was 5'4" at the time).
It's been a busy day for Orioles news, as so far we've heard that the O's are one of three finalists for Bronson Arroyo, Baltimore signed Jack Cust and Evan Meek to minor league contracts, Grantland's Jonah Keri explored the team's recent spending history and its MASN TV contract, and MLBTR's Steve Adams wrapped up even a few more O's items as part of an East Notes post. Heck, why stop now? Here are more Orioles tidbits plus more news from around the AL East…
- Freddie Freeman's eight-year, $135MM extension with the Braves could very well change the parameters for the Orioles' possible extension with Chris Davis, observes MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. "If Davis comes close to duplicating his 2013 season, [agent Scott] Boras will view Freeman's salary as chump change," Kubatko writes. The Braves' deal with Freeman, 24, covered his three remaining arbitration-eligible years and his first five free agent years, while the 28-year-old Davis has just one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before hitting free agency following the 2015 season.
- Also from Kubatko, he questions if the Orioles would make a multiyear offer to Suk-min Yoon given his shoulder history and how the O's were recently burned by Tsuyoshi Wada's injury history. With Yoon looking for a two-year commitment and the Rangers, Giants, Cubs and Twins all showing, a one-year offer might not be enough to get it done for the Orioles.
- The Rays have been talking to the Nationals about a Jose Lobaton trade for at least a month, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports, though the two sides can't settle on what the Rays would get back in return. Though the Nats are one of several teams interested in Lobaton, Tampa Bay is in no hurry to deal the catcher and could wait until Spring Training begins to move him.
- The Yankees' struggles to draft and develop quality minor league talent in recent years is chronicled by ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand.
- Over at Roto Authority, MLBTR's fantasy baseball-focused sister site, I looked at which of the Orioles' Manny Machado or the Blue Jays' Brett Lawrie is the better bet for fantasy success in 2014.
Orioles baseball operations chief Dan Duquette acknowledges that the pressure is on to add a free agent with Spring Training on the horizon, according to Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun, but warns that the club aims to build from within. "If people have the expectation that we're going to sign a lot of high-profile free agents and that's going to be the answer, that is not who the Orioles are about," Duquette cautioned. Schmuck feels, however, that the O's are likely to sign "at least one" of the remaining veteran free-agent starters. Here's more Orioles notes, as the club wraps up its FanFest:
- Chris Davis appeared to be excited by Duquette's disclosure earlier today that the club had offered him an extension. "Really? Did he say anything else? … Keep me up to speed on that," the slugger said while speaking with Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com and other reporters. Davis, who will earn $10.35MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility, figures to be expensive to lock up long-term.
- While Duquette wants to bring more pitching into the fold, skipper Buck Showalter doesn't think it's essential, reports Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. “I don’t think it has to happen," the manager said. "Just because somebody has played X number of years doesn’t make him a good presence."
- Manny Machado says he may have to relearn now to run as he recovers from reconstructive knee surgery, according to a Kubatko report. "I've run my entire life how I did last year and I've had two injuries in the past three years," Machado said. "That's definitely not right." The infielder underwent testing yesterday to analyze his running technique.
- Charlie Wilmoth rounded up more Orioles links in a post this afternoon.
Here are a few notes from Orioles FanFest this morning.
- Before the start of the season, the O's will try to engage shortstop J.J. Hardy in extension discussions, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. Hardy is in the final year of a three-year, $22.25MM deal.
- The Orioles have tried to extend Chris Davis, but with no success so far, Kubatko tweets. Davis is due to become a free agent after the 2015 season. He will make $10.35MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility after a monster .286/.370/.634 season in 2013.
- Orioles executive Dan Duquette says the O's have not tried to deal catcher Matt Wieters this offseason, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Like Davis, Wieters is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season.
The Orioles have agreed to a one-year, $10.35MM contract with Chris Davis in order to avoid arbitration, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. His deal also contains performance bonuses (Twitter links). Davis is represented by Scott Boras.
Davis had been projected to earn an even $10MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz after he took a massive step forward in 2013. He lands just above that mark with his new deal. As Swartz explained in his breakdown of the Davis arbitration case, the slugging first baseman looked primed to break the record for a second-year arbitration raise, and he did just that by garnering a bump of over $7MM.
It is not hard to see how Davis managed to command such a massive increase. As Swartz explained, arbitration raise are generally determined by reference only to platform-year stats, and Davis had quite the platform year. His massive home run (53) and RBI (138) totals and strong .286 batting average, combined with ample playing time, positioned him perfectly.
Davis has one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining before becoming eligible for free agency before the 2016 season.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.