1/31/2014 4:15 P.M. ET
Davis discusses breakout year with MLB.com
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has had a pretty boring offseason by his own admission. Save for the big news that he and his wife, Jill, are expecting their first child -- a girl due in late May -- Davis' winter has been about spending time with family in Texas and preparing for the baseball season the same way he always does.
This year, however, Davis will be tasked with following up a monster 2013 campaign in which he set a team record with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs and was an American League Silver Slugger Award winner and an AL Gold Glove Award finalist, in addition to finishing third in the voting for the AL MVP Award. Davis collected the most votes of any All-Star as the AL's starting first baseman, and he caught national attention for his amazing power numbers and outspoken stance on performance-enhancing drugs. The 27-year-old has spoken out harshly against players who have used PEDs, and he deleted his Twitter account midseason when the social media site became more of a forum to accuse Davis than for him to interact with fans.
Davis has no plans to re-enter the Twitter world, and he called it a good decision on his part to "put the focus back on baseball." MLB.com sat down with the O's first baseman on the eve of the team's FanFest to discuss the state of the club and what it's like to follow up a historic season.
MLB.com: So you really didn't do anything different this winter?
Davis: Not really. We didn't go anywhere this offseason, which was kind of nice. After last season, we had so many firsts -- it was just a huge emotional roller coaster for us. We just took time to hang out with the family, hang out around the house. I did a lot of hunting. I always feel weird talking about hunting because it's so embraced in Texas and there are certain areas where it's not embraced.
MLB.com: I didn't know you were a hunter.
Davis: That's what someone else said during the season -- because I don't get rubber deer shipped into the clubhouse and try on my camo in front of everyone. I'm not toting my guns around. You can't do that anyways, so ...
MLB.com: Yeah, that would have been notable. It was kind of your coming-out party this year, though, on a national scale.
Davis: Was it? I didn't really do anything different in the offseason. I've got my buddies, and we go hunt. And Darren [O'Day] has got his bow. Jill is pregnant, too. I keep forgetting who I have and haven't told. I'll take the [All-Star] break a little early this year.
MLB.com: You went into the All-Star break last year with a career high for homers and RBIs. You are going to get asked this a lot, but coming off last season, how do you follow it up and ...
Davis: Replicate it? That's a good question. I don't think there's any way you can say, "If I do this, this and this, you're going to 53 home runs again." It was a number I never thought was reachable for me, to be honest with you. The most I had ever hit in a season was 40 in 2008, and that was between three different levels.
I do know that I have a routine I really like that works for me, and I continue to try to do things that challenge my body and try to take care of myself. But I think the biggest thing for me is to try to stay healthy.
MLB.com: You've been pretty vocal about the Orioles needing a starting pitcher this season. Adam Jones mentioned it as well. How much have you paid attention to the O's moves this winter?
Davis: We know. Certain guys read stuff all the time, certain guys don't read. It's kind of your own preference. For me, once we traded Jimmy [Johnson], I was like, "Whoa. OK, we're going to start making moves." It's no surprise we need starting pitching. I think [Chris Tillman] did a great job last year and is going to be exciting to watch, and we have guys who are capable of stepping up. But at the same time, I think we can use a veteran presence -- a guy who has been around, a guy who can help the younger pitchers come into their own. So we will see what happens the next few weeks.
I love our defense. What's not to love about our defense? Our offense has the chance to be really explosive again this year. I think we're going to be a fun team to watch.
MLB.com: Speaking of the Johnson trade, you and Tommy Hunter are very close, and he seems to be the guy who will take over the ninth inning. How confident are you in him?
Davis: I'm extremely confident in Tommy. I was excited to hear he was going to be given the opportunity. I think in the last couple of years, Tommy has really grown up a lot. It's a responsibility he's ready for. I just want him to go out there and be himself. He was really dominant at certain points last year and definitely has the stuff to be a closer. I've got all of the confidence in the world in my buddy.
MLB.com: You dealt with a lot PED rumors along with your successful season and have been very vocal about the fact that you don't think cheaters belong in the game. Has your stance changed at all about the way baseball handles suspensions?
Davis: I think what we have in place is good. We're going to have to see how it plays out, but we are definitely taking steps in the right direction. Nobody wants to lose a teammate for 50 games or 100 games or their entire career. There are so many guys who are going about it the right way, doing things the right way, that are successful that we can look to. It's about the integrity of the game.
MLB.com: Do those rumors make you even more motivated to have another successful year?
Davis: There's always motivation to be consistent over a long period of time. That's the great challenge. When you have a great year, you want to go out and replicate that. That's why we play the game.
MLB.com: Manager Buck Showalter said numerous times last year that he was most proud of the way you handled all of the attention. Looking back, was there anything you would have done differently?
Davis: I don't think so. I think every player wants to be successful; that's why we work as hard as we do. But at the same time, success is not guaranteed, and you have to be grateful. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. So there were a lot of things -- a lot of people -- that were very instrumental to my success last year, and I hope the same thing happens this year. But our main goal is to make it to the World Series. In the grand scheme of things, it was a great season for me, but it was kind of bittersweet.
MLB.com: Was there a moment this winter when the magnitude of your season finally sunk in?
Davis: There have been little moments where I realized. There were a lot of firsts this year, a lot of things that I always wanted to do that I always felt like I was capable of doing. It was a very cool year for me. I think it will be fun when I can look back on my whole career, my whole body of work, and tell my kids, my grandkids. There are memories. There are things I will never forget.
My first All-Star Game was Mariano Rivera's last All-Star Game, which was unbelievable. You got to see one of the greatest closers, if not the greatest closer, of all time go out with a bang. To me, those are the little things that make it worth everything. To see guys who work their whole career and step away from the game like that, it's pretty special.
MLB.com: What's your reaction to the Orioles' AL East rivals reloading this offseason? Did you anticipate more activity from the O's?
Davis: I think we have enough on our plate as players getting ready for the season. It's kind of a two-way street. You'd like to see your club making moves, but at the same time, it instills a certain confidence in you and the guys you have around you. They think that we can win with the guys we have on the field, and it's a good product. And, to be honest with you, the 25-man roster we leave [camp] with is going to be the guys we go to battle with.
Teams are going to make moves. Some teams make a lot of moves, and it doesn't pan out. You go with what you've got, and you give it your best shot. There you go. Let's put that on a T-shirt.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.