Davis talks offseason plan after frustrating year

Longtime trainer Bancells announces retirement

Davis talks offseason plan after frustrating year

ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles first baseman Chris Davis needed to vent. The slugger, who had one of the most frustrating seasons he can remember in 2017, was candid with the media as he discussed plans to revamp his swing by next spring.

"I just feel like as a veteran player you have to be able to make an adjustment, and I did not do a good job of that this year on a day-to-day basis and it showed," said Davis, who entered Sunday's season finale batting .216 with 193 strikeouts in 127 games.

"It's been extremely frustrating for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons being that I just feel like there were so many nights out there when I was just a name in the lineup. I didn't feel like I had contributed. Maybe defensively, but definitely not with my bat. And I look at the numbers now and the year as a whole and I feel like I'm a better player than that and I feel like these guys deserve a better product than what I've been giving them.

"If you want to call it a chip on my shoulder or motivated or whatever, I definitely have some things I'm looking forward to working on."

Davis, who missed a month of the season with an oblique injury, never got going offensively and often was a target for Orioles fans given that he signed a club-record seven-year, $161 million contract prior to 2016.

He entered Sunday with 26 homers and 61 RBIs, and often spoke this season about not seeing the ball well. Improving that, and working on eliminating some of the head movement in his swing, are Davis' big priorities this offseason.

"There were times when I felt good and for whatever reason I wasn't able to consistently produce, and then there were times where I felt like it was kind of an uphill battle," Davis said. "And I think that's where you see a lot of the called third strikes. That bothers me. And anybody who's watched me play at all over the past few years knows I'm an aggressive hitter. I like to swing the bat. I think that's obvious. So, that in itself was inexcusable and it's extremely frustrating. But I think there are definitely mechanical things that I can do to give myself a better chance and ultimately at the end of the day that's all you can do."

Bancells announces retirement after 41 years with organization

The Orioles suffered a big loss on Sunday afternoon, as longtime head athletic trainer Richie Bancells announced his retirement.

Bancells has been with the Orioles organization for 41 years, including 34 with the big league club. The 2017 season marked his 30th as the O's head athletic trainer.

"A guy that has been such a fixture for us for so many years and made so many contributions for us. So many [contributions] that people didn't see, evaluations. Let's face it, he was the trainer for Cal Ripken. The conversation starts and stops there for me," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's like losing a really good player. It's a loss for us. But it's a real gain for [his wife] Carol and the kids and the grandkids. And the city of Baltimore. He hopefully will stay engaged in some capacity."

Bancells -- the organization's longest-tenured member -- said he thought about retirement as the year went on, and is looking forward to spending more time with his family.

"You wake up one day and you realize it's time when you're kind of tired, and tired of being tired is the way I'd put it," he said. "It's a combination of a lot of things, both professionally and personally. I have seven grandchildren now and I just want to be around them more, and those kinds of things."

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette commended the work Bancells has done and the respect he has around baseball. Bancells has been a popular fixture in the O's dugout -- and among diehard fans -- and said he'll take some time to sift through his memories and appreciate the ride.

"There were just a lot of great moments, whether it was postseason stuff, I've been fortunate enough to work with so many good, good players, some of them in the Hall [of Fame]," he said. "It's just hard to pinpoint one or two things after all these years, but it's just been a great time."

 

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.