If he is shut down, the Orioles will miss out on a big opportunity to see what the 25-year-old has to offer. First base is clearly up for grabs going into this offseason and Davis is someone the Orioles wanted to get a good look at the last six weeks of the season.
The left-handed hitter has only played in 10 games for the Orioles since coming over from the Rangers in the Koji Uehara trade, but in that limited sample, Davis' defense clearly stood out. In 81 innings played as an Oriole his fielding percentage is 1.000.
At the plate, many scouts feel Davis has tremendous upside and power potential. The problem is in parts of four major league seasons, he strikes out a lot - about once every three at-bats. The Orioles will most likely have to wait until spring training next year to see if Davis can become a more consistent hitter. Right now, he fits the Luke Scott profile: a southpaw who is all or nothing offensively.
With Davis out, the Orioles will have to evaluate their situation at first base. If the past few days are any indication of the future, it looks like Mark Reynolds will get a majority of the starts at first. He could be an option there for 2012, especially if Josh Bell has an impressive last six weeks at third base.
Also, we might see Joe Mahoney called up from Double-A Bowie in September. He's on the 40-man roster and was the Orioles' 2010 minor league Player of the Year. This season in Bowie, Mahoney is batting .290 with eight homers and 47 RBIs. He's considered the Birds' No. 1 prospect at first.
I know some of you might be thinking, what about Brandon Snyder? Snyder has seen some time in the big leagues this year, but his stints in Baltimore have been unimpressive. Right now, he's batting just .253 in Triple-A Norfolk with 11 homers. It might be safe to say the organization has cooled a bit on Snyder. That doesn't mean he's completely out of the picture. He was the Birds' first-round draft pick in 2005 and is only 24. We might see him get a call-up in September, as he is on the 40-man roster.
The Orioles second top first base prospect is probably Tyler Townsend, who was having a monster year at Single-A Frederick. The Bird's 2009 third-rounder pulled a hamstring and hasn't played in a month. He was hitting .318 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs before the injury. The problem with Townsend is he's starting to show a track record of injuries.
For those of you who are hoping to see the Orioles find a first baseman in free agency, I don't see that happening. Between Davis and Reynolds, I have a feeling Andy MacPhail believes he has some decent options at first for 2012. Sure, everyone wants Prince Fielder, but I don't see Fielder entertaining an offer from the Orioles. They would have to grossly overpay him to come here. I see Fielder staying with Milwaukee anyway.
My prediction: Reynolds is the Orioles' starting first baseman on opening day 2012. I want to have faith that Bell steps up in September and proves he can be the O's third baseman of the future.