SARASOTA, Fla. – Buck Showalter is very fond of Chris Davis. However, he hasn’t talked to him during his free agent negotiations.
Teams deal through agents, and the Orioles are dealing with Scott Boras, Davis’ agent.
On Monday, Showalter said he wasn’t surprised that Davis remained unsigned, and tossed out the opinion that the slugger might not sign until February or even March.
That’s not likely.
Davis had the reported seven year, $150 million offer from the Orioles, and if they don’t sign another big name free agent soon, he can circle back and accept it.
While teams do sign players in February or March, it would be unprecedented for one to agree to a contract larger than the one the Orioles offered to Davis that late in the free agent cycle.
Ubaldo Jimenez signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Orioles after spring training, one that Showalter reminded reporters doesn’t seem as bad as it looked during the first season.
But Jimenez was a pitcher, and teams can always use a starting pitcher, even good ones.
Davis is a first baseman, or an outfielder as Boras is trying to market him, and teams usually have spent their money for big names by Feb. 1.
Meanwhile, another Boras client and Davis teammate, Wei-Yin Chen, is said to be negotiating actively with the Miami Marlins. The market hasn’t been as hot for Chen as Boras thought. He had a five-year, $100 million price tag, and while he’s arguably the best pitcher left on the market, Miami seems an unlikely fit for Chen.
Most free agents who sign late take one-year deals because the market for them hasn't been robust. That hasn't been the case with Davis. He may have to settle for the Orioles' offer, but it would still be one of the larger contracts in baseball history.