Every year at the All-Star break, The Baltimore Sun publishes an analysis piece, "Five questions facing the Orioles."
Within the piece is an item I didn't want to become overlooked since several people have asked me about the subject. Though, frankly, the concept and result shouldn't be surprises.
I talked to a source who confirmed that the Orioles have internally discussed whether they should consider trading Chris Davis this month. Ultimately, they decided no, or certainly not while the team is in spitting distance of the playoffs.
Davis is a pending free agent at year's end, and there have been no real negotiations to re-sign him to a long-term deal. Despite his offensive flaws -- he's hitting .235 with 110 strikeouts in 307 at-bats -- he is tied with Manny Machado for the team lead in homers with 19 and he is leading the Orioles in RBIs with 52.
Ultimately, I was told the Orioles don't feel like they can surrender Davis' production in a lineup that is enigmatic at best, even if it meant getting a solid prospect or two in return. It might be a different story if the Orioles fall completely out of the race by July 31, but if they're still hanging around, Davis will be, too -- in an Orioles uniform.
It also helps that he's made a solid transition to right field from first base recently -- he's no worse there than most of the other outfielders the Orioles have ushered to the corners this year -- which assures that manager Buck Showalter can keep Davis' bat in the lineup while also playing Chris Parmelee, a defensive whiz, at first, and Jimmy Paredes at DH.
Some fans may think not dealing Davis now is shortsighted, since the Orioles are unlikely to pay him what his market price will demand this offseason. And don't be mistaken, Davis will get paid handsomely on the open market. He turns 30 next March and has hit 131 homers in the past 3 ½ seasons -- and power is a major commodity in baseball.
One of the incentives for not trading Davis now is that the Orioles will get a compensatory pick following the first round of next year's draft if Davis rejects the club's one-year, qualifying offer, which will exceed $16 million, and signs with another team.
Davis, who is making $12 million this year, is advised by agent Scott Boras; there's no way Davis would accept the one-year deal instead of seeking security and more millions elsewhere.
So if the Orioles were to trade Davis in July, they'd have to make sure what they were getting back is better than what they could land with the 30-something pick in next year's draft. It would be counterproductive to dump Davis just for salary purposes.
There's also been some talk among fans that the Orioles could dangle Davis to a team that had an ace, maybe throw in something extra, to get a guy like Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels. But why would a club that has given up want a pending free agent?
The only scenario I could envision involving Davis being dealt is in August, if he clears trade waivers. Because by then the Orioles might have a better idea as to whether they have a chance at another postseason. But, again, the price in return would have to exceed the value of a high draft pick in 2016.
This situation is not unique to Davis; there are eight current Orioles who are eligible for free agency this winter. But I see no way Wei-Yin Chen or Matt Wieters are dealt before July 31 and neither would clear trade waivers, in my opinion.
Some of the other free agents -- Tommy Hunter, Darren O'Day, Steve Pearce -- might have a trade market but may not bring a whole lot in return in July. They could be held on to until August and their markets probably wouldn't change much.
Bud Norris could be traded this month if there is a match. Wesley Wright's roster spot is in jeopardy, regardless.