For eleven weeks, ever since the Orioles season ended, Baltimore has obsessed over Chris Davis. As soon as the Orioles season ended, fans grew overly emotional when it came to Davis.
If the Orioles didn’t re-sign him, they’d never go to another Orioles game again.
With the Orioles’ offseason more than half over, and just over eight weeks before spring training begins, Davis is still unsigned, and there’s now a divide.
Many fans still want the Orioles to re-sign him, but others think the reported seven-year, $150 million offer is plenty good enough, and he should have snapped it up.
There are some very good reasons to think that Davis will accept an offer very similar to the one that supposedly is no longer sitting there for him.
1) The Orioles have made a historically good offer
Never have the Orioles signed a player to a nine-figure contract. Never have they signed a player for more than six years, but managing partner Peter Angelos, like many of his customers, is a Davis fan, and was determined to make a competitive offer to keep the slugger.
The Orioles have been criticized in the past for ignoring baseball’s new big money age. In Feb. 2014, they signed a free agent pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, for four years, the first time they’d ever done that.
And, it’s a deal that in retrospect doesn’t look as bad as some thought.
The Orioles knew they’d have to recognize the financial realities of this age. Superstars cost megamoney, and the Orioles now act on it.
2) There won’t be a better offer for Davis
Davis’ very skilled agent, Scott Boras, has been trying to find a better offer, or offers, so he can get a sense of the market, but it’s seemed for a while that the Orioles don’t have any competition for him.
Should a star injure himself over the holidays as Detroit’s Victor Martinez did in 2012 that could present an opportunity for a competitor to bid against the Orioles.
After Martinez’s injury, suddenly Prince Fielder became a Tiger, and maybe that happens again.
But for now, the big money teams: Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, Angels and Nationals, don’t seem eager to spend more money on a first baseman.
3) Davis really does like it in Baltimore
When Davis slumped badly in 2014 and his average sunk under .200, fans didn’t boo him. When he was suspended at the end of that season for using Adderall without a prescription, they ignored it.
In many of those big money ballparks, Davis would have been pilloried. There’s something charming about a fan base that’s not all that critical and forgiving, and Davis seems to realize that.
While his teammates were angry with him for the suspension, they greeted him with warm hugs upon his arrival in the clubhouse last February in Sarasota.
The biggest names on the team, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Darren O’Day and Matt Wieters all like him, and have publicly called for the Orioles to bring him back.
That might not happen in Boston.
4) The Orioles really need him
Perhaps the Orioles’ offer to Davis may not be the final one, but it not only recognizes baseball’s new age, it shows they need a powerful left-handed bat.
Pedro Alvarez may hit lots of home runs, and his left-handed bat would be a nice contrast, but he’d be the designated hitter.
Davis has turned himself into a good first baseman, and he’s not a bad outfielder. Boras has tried to sell him as not only the best first basemen in the free agent class, but the best hitting outfielder, too.
That may be a stretch, but Davis can fill in at third base, too.
5) Davis would be an important figure in Orioles history
Over the last four years, Davis has averaged 40 home runs a year. If he somehow manages to do that over the next seven years, he’ll have just under 500 home runs, and will make himself into a Hall of Fame candidate.
While Davis continues to strike out far too often, he’s become a better batter. His strikeouts are high, but his walks have increased, too. Last year he walked 84 times and had a .361 on-base percentage.
In 2013 when he hit 53 home runs, he had a .370 OBP.
Sluggers sometimes don’t age well, but Davis does work out hard, and a new contract wouldn’t change that.
A seven-year deal would take Davis through the 2022 season when he’ll be 36.
The guess here is that the Davis drama extends through the holidays and into January, but in the end No. 19 returns to Baltimore, and Oriole fans—as well as Davis—live happily ever after.