BALTIMORE—Chris Davis knew the free agent process was going to be a long one. He didn’t expect it to take as long as it did.
“I didn’t really know what to expect. From everyone that I had talked to, they all said, ‘it’s going to take longer than you expect,’" Davis said. “I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about it, but it’s kind of just the way things work.”
Davis’ agent, Scott Boras had made his interest known by flying to Baltimore to meet with managing partner Peter Angelos to tell him how much Davis wanted to stay with the Orioles.
“I think that was huge in the negotiations,” Davis said. “There was a certain sense of comfort in that.”
Davis admitted that as January came and spring training got closer, he was getting a little nervous.
“O.K., let’s get this going,” Davis said.
Boras said he had to wait for the market for hitters to develop, but wouldn’t comment on whether the slugger had other serious suitors.
“You know, when you go to a wedding, you never talk about your girlfriends,” Boras said.
In the end, Davis is back with the Orioles for seven years and a reported $161 million.
“We knew that we had really enjoyed being in Baltimore. For the last four years, that’s really all I had known and we’ve had a lot of success here and it’s just was a comfortable place to be. My family enjoys it here. I think the fact that we knew they were interested obviously made it a little bit easier,” Davis said.
The slugger was accompanied to the unusual Thursday night press conference by his wife Jill and his young daughter, Ella.
Davis’ contract is by far the largest one ever given out by the Orioles, and Davis acknowledged that there would be pressure accompanying it.
“I hope there is. I hope there are expectations. I’ve always kind of thought of pressure as something that you really inflict on yourself. As a professional athlete, really a professional in anything that you do, you’re going to expect yourself to be great and you’re going to hold yourself to high standards. I’m happy to be here for the next seven years and be in a place where I’ve had success in the past and we’ve had success as a team in the past. And I think these next few years are going to be a lot of fun and hopefully very successful years,” Davis said.
Boras negotiated not only with Angelos, but with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.
“We always had Chris as a primary target to sign through the winter. You know, these deals, they have their own timing. Some take a while. Some get done quickly. In this case, things came together late Friday night. We had the structure of the deal we ended up agreeing to. We had a lot of that in place and Mr. Angelos and Scott talked late into the night on Friday and the sides were able to come together with a deal and so Chris is here today,” Duquette said.
Davis is comfortable with the Orioles, and has been since he was traded here in July 2011, and he likes that the team extended a qualifying offer to Matt Wieters, which the catcher accepted and an a new four-year, $31 million contract to Darren O’Day, with whom Davis played with in Texas.
“I’m extremely excited about that. The feelings that everyone had the last few days were well-warranted because of really the group of guys we’ve had the last few years,” Davis said. “The fact that we have such a good group of guys and a warm, inviting clubhouse should draw players to Baltimore and it should make you want to be a part something special. I think the longer we can keep that going and the more that we can keep that focus our central theme, the better off we’re going to be as a team.”
In between taking his physical here this week, Davis visited a local hospital and met a fan who expressed his happiness about the extension.
“You know it’s so much fun to watch you guys. Don’t ever lose that. Don’t lose that fun, happy-go-lucky attitude,” the fan told Davis.
“That really struck a chord with me because I feel like the fans here really relate to the players. We don’t have a bunch of guys here that don’t necessarily care about the community. They spend time in the community. They get to know fans. That real big sense of family and sense of community here, and I think that’s something you don’t find everywhere,” Davis said.
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