One of the unfortunate things about Chris Davis not signing with the Orioles yet, and not signing with anyone else either, is that the rumors will continue to persist until something officially happens.
Here’s what we know: Last Saturday, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told a group of reporters that the seven-year, roughly $150 million offer to Davis had been taken off the table and there were no current plans to renegotiate.
Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, immediately responded by saying talks weren’t done and that he was continuing to negotiate with the Orioles as well as other teams.
Indeed, the sides have talked more this past week. I don’t get any indication that real progress has been made, but the fact that Boras and Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos are still taking each other’s phone calls means something.
The sense is that Davis’ camp is looking for an average annual value closer to $24-25 million than the $22 million per year that the Orioles had on the table. Such a deal would earn Davis more annually than players such as Hanley Ramirez (four years, $88 million), Jacoby Ellsbury (seven years, $153 million) and Jason Heyward (eight years, $184 million), who combined to hit 39 homers last year compared to Davis’ league-leading 47.
Those three ballplayers have completely different skill sets than Davis, obviously, but if home runs are the best way to get paid in baseball, Davis can make a case for being above that trio when it comes to average annual contact value.
And that brings us to whether someone will pay Davis, say, $175 million for seven years. The easy answer is no, because we haven’t heard that number associated with any team and Davis. In fact, we really haven’t heard any teams associated with Davis besides the Orioles.
I think that might provide a false sense of security to the Orioles and their fans or at least give the impression that the club is bidding against itself. I caution that way of thinking because I’ve covered Boras for years and he always seems to find a team willing to pay what he believes is the right price for his major stars -- which ends up viewed as astronomical to the rest of us. And the “winning” team is usually one that wasn’t previously mentioned as an obvious fit during that particular offseason.
To get the most for his client, though, Boras often has to wait out the market before getting the megadeal done. And it’s going to be interesting to see how long Davis is willing to be patient. He’s an enigma; sometimes he’s very chilled and other times he’s frenetic. The calm side likely will have to win that battle this time for him to get top dollar.
The Orioles were hoping to make the signing with Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim official on Friday or Saturday. It’s possible an announcement doesn’t happen until Sunday or Monday now.
We’ve been through this drill long enough to know that the Orioles’ medical evaluations are complicated and often take much longer than initially anticipated. Most times, the deal gets done. So, kind of like with the Davis situation, there’s going to be some waiting involved.
That’s life in Birdland.