Orioles observations on Chris Davis' deal, Tigers' pursuit of him, Wei-Yin Chen's new home

Pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, center, smiles as he sits with Miami Marlins president of operations Michael Hill, left, and agent Scott Boras, right, during a news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Miami. The left-handed pitcher finalized an $80 million, five-year contract.

The Orioles hope to have their deal with Chris Davis finalized and announced before a major snowstorm is projected to affect the area this weekend.

Davis' seven-year, $161 million deal, the largest in Orioles history, is pending a physical. He is expected to have that today or tomorrow.


The Detroit Tigers' agreement with outfielder Justin Upton on Monday also brought word that they were apparently very interested in signing Davis. According to a MLB Network report, Tigers owner Mike Ilitch was "absolutely ready" to sign Davis before general manager Al Avila talked him out of it. Detroit saw Davis as a corner outfielder. Miguel Cabrera plays first base for the Tigers.

Ilitch reportedly had some front-office support to sign Davis, but there were concerns about the luxury tax.


Upton, who was tied to draft-pick compensation, agreed to a six-year, $132.75 million deal with the Tigers. The deal fit for the Tigers because their first-round pick is ninth overall, and is protected. They already forfeited their second-round pick to sign right-hander Jordan Zimmermann earlier this offseason, so they merely surrendered their third-round selection to ink Upton.

Like I wrote in this morning's analysis piece, the Orioles' pursuit of Upton never really gained traction because they remain hesitant to lose their first-round pick, which is currently 14th overall. That's the Orioles' highest pick since they took Kevin Gausman fourth in the 2012 draft.

All the talk about Davis and whether Scott Boras would be able to get his client the $200 million deal he was seeking usually turns to Prince Fielder's nine-year, $214 million deal before the 2012 season. Remember, there didn't appear to be many suitors for Fielder then until the Tigers – in desperate need of a power bat after a season-ending injury to Victor Martinez – stepped in to sign Fielder.

Two years later, the Tigers dealt Fielder to the Texas Rangers, partially to get out from under that long-term commitment to Fielder.

Will Upton remain with the Tigers over the term of his deal? Davis' deal includes limited no-trade protection, but he would gain full no-trade protection four years into it as a 10-and-5 player (10 years of major league service and at least five years with the same team).

Chen's new home

The Miami Marlins held a news conference Tuesday to introduce former Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who signed a five-year, $80 million deal.

Chen will wear No. 54 with the Marlins. He can't wear No. 16, the number he wore in Baltimore, because that currently belongs to Marlins ace Jose Fernandez.


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Marlins team president David Samson told reporters Tuesday that he didn't think Miami would be able to afford Chen. But after expressing interest in the lefty after New Year's Day, the Marlins were able to reach an agreement with Chen.

Boras, who also represents Chen, was initially seeking a deal in the five-year, $100 million range. Chen settled for $80 million, plus a vesting option for a sixth year at $16 million.

"We assumed he would be gone," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "We assumed the market the representative tried to create for him, someone would [meet] and he'd be signed."

A move from hitter-friendly Camden Yards to Marlins Park, which has seen the second-fewest homers in the majors since 2012 -- the fences are being moved in this offseason -- should help Chen, as will avoiding the stacked lineups he regularly faced pitching in the American League East.

The Orioles always thought Chen was capable of getting a five-year deal, especially given how well he pitched in Baltimore and the aforementioned factors.

Now, the Orioles have to find a way to replace him.