While you slept, the Orioles were busy negotiating with Chris Davis. Sleep deprivation was rewarded this time, and the long-awaited news came early Saturday morning with the news that Davis and the Orioles reached agreement on an astounding, seven-year, $161 million contract.
It’s not yet known if money is deferred. That was reported to be a sticking point in earlier negotiations. It’s assumed that there’s no opt-out clause in this contract, something the Orioles have been adamantly against.
Davis’ deal not only will excite the fan base, but should forever silence those who have complained about the Orioles’ lack of willingness to spend.
This deal, which has an average annual value of $23 million, is nearly twice as large as the previous largest contract, which was given to Adam Jones in 2012. That contract was for six years and $85.5 million.
The news of the Davis agreement, which was first reported by the Baseball Network’s Jon Heyman and confirmed by an industry source, is pending medical review.
At last month’s Winter Meetings, the Orioles reportedly offered Davis seven years and $150 million. It seemed clear to them that Davis had no other suitors at that price.
This week, news surfaced that the team had interest in free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but that was seen by many as a ploy to lure Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, back to the negotiating table.
Davis, who has led the major leagues in home runs in two of the past three years, is back in a lineup that could be even stronger than it was last year.
Besides Jones, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop and Matt Wieters, who accepted a qualifying offer for $15.8 million in November, the Orioles added Mark Trumbo and South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim.
Kim is slated to play left field, and Trumbo could play right or be the team’s principal designated hitter.
Now, the Orioles will turn their attention to getting an additional starting pitcher, and because of the large amount of money allocated to Davis, they’re likely to be out of the bidding for bigger names such as Doug Fister and Yovani Gallardo, and more likely to look for a bounceback candidate who won’t be as costly.
Last August, when executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette indicated that re-signing Davis was a priority, he said he hoped the team would sign “a couple” of their free agents.
They’ve re-signed Davis, Wieters and Darren O’Day—three of the six.