Markakis Could Return Before All-Star Break And That's Not Soon Enough
Chris Davis can do several things for the Orioles, but fill Nick Markakis' shoes in right field is not one of them.
Davis is mired in a slump of pretty epic proportions, and his average has dipped to .272 after being higher than .300 at the start of the month. He has 11 hits during his last 63 at bats. He's batting .175 in June. Davis' move to right field is a major reason why. He's out of sorts. He was out of the lineup last night against the Angels during a 7-3 loss.
Davis started the season at first base, but Mark Reynolds has bumped out of that position, leaving Davis to fill in for Markakis as he recovers from hand surgery.
Markakis, a Gold Glove winner a year ago, is still not the hitter the Orioles paid for when they extended him three years ago, but he is one of the game's best right fielders. The Orioles really have just one guy comfortable in the outfield right now -- Adam Jones in center. The Orioles' outfield crew looked out of sorts and out of position much of Tuesday. Jones even looked awkward, making bad decisions that he wouldn't under normal circumstances.
Markakis is a quiet anchor in right, who makes other players more comfortable defensively.
Manager Buck Showalter has dealt with some tough injuries during the first half of the season. In an effort to cover up some weaknesses, he's exposing them more. Davis needs to move back to first base, and the Orioles should entertain a trade package this month that includes Reynolds if possible. Reynolds is a good teammate, and works hard, but his limited defensive capabilities are getting in the way of the team's future.
When Markakis returns to right field, Davis should go back to first, where he belongs. By that time, Reynolds may have made himself attractive trade bait.
Posted June 27, 2012