As details of Chris Davis’ extension with the Orioles are revealed, it seems that the price for him may not have been as costly as originally believed.
ESPN.com reports that Davis will defer $42 million of the reported $161 million on the deal. He’ll receive $17 million a year from now until the end of the contract in 2022. That $17 million is higher than the Orioles have paid any player, but not much higher than Adam Jones’ $16.33 million in 2016 and 2017. Jones is scheduled to be paid $17.33 million in the final year of his six-year deal in 2018.
Davis gets $3.5 million from 2023-2032, and $1.4 million a year from 2033-2037. He’ll be 51 when the Orioles commitment to him ends.
He lives in Texas, and there’s no income tax there. That’s a big advantage for him.
The $17 million pushes the Orioles’ estimated payroll closer to $140 million, a number unthinkable around these parts just a few years ago. While there are some who think that they could still sign Yoenis Cespedes, perhaps to a one-year deal, it seems unlikely they could afford him.
It’s best for the Orioles if they try and spend whatever money they have left in the 2016 budget to try and get a starting pitcher though they don’t have much to trade.
Once the Orioles add a pitcher or two and perhaps another outfielder, their payroll could be over $140, which is large, but wouldn’t put them among the top 10 in payrolls.
Christian Walker, whose path to first base is now blocked for the foreseeable future and beyond could be part of a deal. Otherwise the Orioles could think about having Walker and Trey Mancini play the outfield at Norfolk instead of first base.
Whether Davis gets a full or partial no-trade clause seems immaterial. He’s scheduled to reach 10-year status early in the 2020 season, which gives him the right to veto trades.
If he becomes unhappy in Baltimore, he could always request a trade, but with his large financial obligations, a trade would become extremely unwieldy. Once a player signs a long-term deal, they become difficult to trade. The Phillies found that out with Ryan Howard.
On the plus side, the Orioles have shown their fan base they’re willing to spend, though they haven’t signed an outside free agent for major money since Miguel Tejada in 2003.
Davis, Jones, J.J. Hardy and Darren O’Day were all signed for big money and multiple years, at least for their positions, in the last four years, but each was already an Oriole.
Since Dan Duquette took over in Nov. 2011, his biggest outside signing was Ubaldo Jimenez for four years and $50 million in 2013.
The Orioles have not invoiced season ticket holders, and now they can. Fans who have been clamoring for Davis’ return can be satisfied.
When Matt Wieters accepted the team’s qualifying offer of $15.8 million in November, many fans were upset, thinking incorrectly that the team’s pursuit of Davis and O’Day would be harmed.
Any fan who thinks that an extension for Manny Machado or Jonathan Schoop, or for that matter, Jones, is out of the question now, can see that the Orioles have accepted that this is a new financial era in baseball.
A possible Machado extension could be more costly than Davis because of his youth and special skill set, but after the precedent setting Davis deal, it no longer seems so far fetched.
What will the fans who complained that the Orioles wouldn’t spend money going to carp about now? They’ll find something, I’m sure.
Davis will be 30 in March, and in his big league career, has 203 home runs. He’s averaged about 40 home runs a year in the last four years. If he somehow manages to hit 40 homers a year for the life of his contract, he’ll have 483 home runs and a legitimate chance at the Hall of Fame.
Orioles fans can only hope that’s the case.
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