Davis at first not so bad an option for O's

Davis at first not so bad an option for O's
December 1, 2012, 2:45 am
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Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) is congratulated by Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Chris Davis (19)

(Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

So Mark Reynolds isn’t an Oriole — at least for the moment. With the club not offering him a contract, the first baseman hits the free-agent market, and it remains to be seen how much the market hits back.

But let’s say that Reynolds really is gone. Furthermore, let’s say the Orioles don’t land any of the other first basemen out there, with Adam LaRoche, late of the Nationals, chief among them.

Now, let’s say the Orioles head into the season with Chris Davis as their first baseman. Is that so awful?

With Nick Markakis returning from injury, Davis wasn’t going to be spending a lot of time in the outfield anyway. Given how well Reynolds played at first over the last months of the season and how Davis wasn’t so sharp there last season (four errors in 38 games), the Orioles could be weakening their defense from 2012 — and defense has become a point of emphasis under manager Buck Showalter.

But Davis has generally been a capable first baseman throughout his career, and even if the O’s are trading down on defense, they’re trading up on offense at first base — Reynolds was so streaky and prone to strikeouts and struggled for great stretches of 2012, while Davis finished with a .270 average, 33 homers and 85 RBIs.

Of course, Davis at first leaves a hole at designated hitter, and the way things look now, the Orioles could have a DH-by-committee. But who knows how many moves are ahead by the time Opening Day arrives?