I will say it seems strange that Nunez doesn't have some trade value vs a DFA. His avg exit velocity really fell off last year but his WOBA has increased every year he's been with the Orioles to his career best .341 (MLB avg of .317) though his xWOBA fell to .301 (.321 MLB average) suggesting he was a little lucky last year.
His defensive really fell off to the point that he's a DH, which of course puts a lot of pressure on his bat. With Mancini returning, and Stewart needing everyday at bats and an outfield that is getting crowded in a good way (Mountcastle, Stewart, Hays, Santander and Mullins and Diaz at some point perhaps), he's in a bit of a roster crunch.
I'd like to think a guy who was on pace to hit 30+ home runs at 26 years old with a good solid barrel percentage (80 MLB percentile) would have more value, but with offensive numbers continuing to rise, I guess is you bring no defensive value your bat needs to be special, and Nunez is a streaky hitter who can be special at times, but eventually ends up slightly better than average offensively.
Do I think money is involved in this decision? Yeah, I think it would be naïve to say that his arbitration number wasn't a factor. Was it the only factor, no because as I pointed out, there's going to be a crunch for PAs next year between 1B, DH and corner outfield.
As for Davis, it's quite clear that with COVID still lingering, the question on whether a full season will happen next year looms big on whether to finally cut bait on him. It's clear that Davis has no intention of doing the right thing and retiring, so he will continue to embarrass himself and any remaining legacy so he can cash some big checks in the future that he hasn't earned. It's certainly his right to do so. Also, with the CBA coming up, maybe the Orioles think they will save money from his albatross contract if the players strike?
It's clear he's only still on the roster because the Orioles are exploring all ways to try and get out of paying him.
Nunez was a decent stick, but his defensive woes really cut onto his value and at the end of the day, it seems Elias has decided he rather give those DH at bats to others.
I have a theory. No better than your average CoC theory. I believe pretty strongly that he did them. Why stop? Well, once he bagged his big contract, he may have felt the health risks and the low risk of getting caught were not worth it. Perhaps he had a health scare or just being married and having a young family made him reevaluate the health risks. I know that he lost a lot of body mass over the last 5 years. He says he was slow to change his swing because he had prior success. Then why lose muscle and mass purposely if that's the way you were when you had all your success?
No idea on Brady. He still hit like 24 homers after the 50 homer season. He may have used but that seadon was an aberration either way. Like Davey Johnson in 73. If you believe Brady used, I don't think the seasons after the 50 homer season necessarily mean that he stopped.