Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has become the most expensive MLB field ornament of all time, costing the club over $2 million since he last recorded a hit – much less banged one of his signature home runs.
Just this week, the slugger (swinger?) earned the dubious distinction of having the longest-ever streak of hitless at-bats in the history of Major League Baseball. Davis whiffed his way past the previous record of 46 hitless at-bats set by Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Eugenio Vélez in 2011. Davis’ current streak is 49 – and counting.
That’s not the real story, though. The headline for the Orioles is that they are shelling out a fortune for a player who has as many major league hits since mid-September as I do.
With $23 million in annual compensation, Chris Davis earns about $142,000 per game. That means that since the last time he recorded a hit – a September 14 double against the White Sox – Davis has “earned” more than $2.1 million. For a team like the Orioles, that is an unconscionable fortune to spend on a player who now has the worst-ever record for an MLB hitter.
For the nine games he has played in 2019 so far without recording a hit, Davis has taken home a pre-tax minimum of about $1,277,759. In theory, he could go on like this until the end of his contract.
Since the start of the 2018 season, Davis has accumulated just 16 home runs and 49 RBIs. To put that in perspective, that means that the $23 million he has earned in that time averages out to about $1,437,500 per home run and $469,387 per RBI.
And the Orioles won’t weasel their way out of this anytime soon. Under the terms of his seven-year, $161 million contract, the team will keep on paying Davis until 2037. Davis will earn an annual salary of $17 million until 2022, then $3.5 million until 2032, and then $1.4 million through 2037.
This is not the first time that a sports team has ended up with an expensive white elephant on its roster. Dutch soccer player Winston Bogarde famously ran down his four-year, $10 million contract at Chelsea Football Club, making only 12 appearances and refusing to go out on loan at the turn of the millennium.
The situation with Davis is a bit different as the Orioles simply cannot afford to put him on the bench due to the paucity of their roster, so they just have to hope that an unlikely miracle will snap the former MVP back into all-star form before his hitless streak reaches triple digits.
Last modified: July 2, 2020 8:28 PM UTC