After making what he calls an “aggressive” play to re-sign first baseman Chris Davis earlier this week at the winter meetings, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said that the club has rescinded its contract offer to Davis.
“There’s no offer on the table right now,” Duquette said. “I’m not exactly sure where that’s going to end up, but we’ve been very aggressive on that front and it didn’t yield a deal, so at some point we’re going to have to look at some other options. I could tell you this, we’re going to have a good ballclub either way and we’ll have to find some left-handed hitters to staff our team and balance our lineup.”
The Orioles made a reported seven-year, $150 million offer to Davis, which would make him the highest-paid player in club history. But the Orioles have not been able to get a deal done with his agent, Scott Boras.
Duquette said earlier this week that the club would soon have to pursue other free-agent and trade options to fill their need for a left-handed bat, and it appears the Orioles are now heading in that direction.
“We’re looking for other options for left-handed hitting,” Duquette said. “We’ve been doing that all along and we’re looking at that a little more aggressively. … I’m not exactly sure what their time frame is. From the club perspective, we’d like to have our roster in place when we can, but by Christmas we like to have a lot of the building blocks we like to have in place. But like I said, it doesn’t always work that way. We’ve got to look for some other options for left-handed hitting, which we’re currently doing.”
Boras said this week that he’s not one to put timetables on negotiations, and he’s commonly let his clients wait to get a deal he likes, like when Prince Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million deal on Jan. 26, 2012.
“I’m not really sure what the club’s appetite is on a January deal,” Duquette said. “But we’re going to proceed and staff our ballclub so that we have a good ballclub when we get to Opening Day. We’re going to proceed down some other tracks right now.”
Duquette said he is confident in the Orioles' existing options at first base, including recently -acquired slugger Mark Trumbo and prospects Christian Walker and Trey Mancini. All are right-handed hitters, so the club needs an additional left-handed bat, which Duquette said would likely be an outfielder.
“Every deal has its own timing, and the timing is determined by a number of factors in the market, so sometimes you need patience,” Duquette said. “Sometimes you have to move in other directions. The good thing for the Orioles is that we’ve been able to add Trumbo, who is a solid power hitter. We’ve got [Matt] Wieters back, who is a qualified major league hitter with power from both sides of the plate. … We have some power up the middle to our lineup, but we could use some balance from the left side.”
Asked if he believed Jason Heyward’s eight-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs would affect the market, Duquette said he doesn’t understand deals structured with opt-out clauses, and the Orioles wouldn’t be a team that makes that kind of deal.
“These contracts that have outs, I don’t understand these contracts, because if the players don’t perform well, it’s not like they’re returning huge sums of money they’re getting. If they do well, they’re allowed to become free agents,” Duquette said. “I don’t really understand that type of structure. That type of structure wouldn’t work for the Orioles. I know that.”