Orioles

Who is the highest-paid player in Orioles history?

Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles aren’t exactly high rollers with their payroll these days.

After spending time in the middle of the pack among MLB spenders, they have owned a bottom-three Opening Day payroll in each of the last three seasons. The O’s even ranked dead-last in 2020, though the team exceeded expectations and finished with a 25-35 record in the shortened season.

While the O’s aren’t known for dishing out the big bucks, there are players who have made bank playing in Baltimore. Some have signed notorious contracts while others have made millions by just showing up for work everyday. Here are the top five earners in O’s history based on how much they made while playing in Baltimore (per Spotrac):

5. Nick Markakis

Markakis collected $69.207 million from the Orioles in his nine-year stint in Baltimore. After playing his first handful of seasons on cheap deals, he got his big payday with a six-year, $66 million deal ahead of the 2009 season. He played 1,365 games in orange and black before joining the Atlanta Braves in 2015.

 

He retired ahead of the 2021 season after making over $120 million total in his 15-year MLB career.

4. Cal Ripken Jr.

You don’t play 2,632 consecutive games for free.

Baseball’s Iron Man earned $70,857,505 in his 21 seasons with the Orioles. He made it worth their while, too, as he also accumulated 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, 19 All-Star bids, eight Silver Slugger Awards, two Gold Gloves and two AL MVP Awards.

The five-year, $30.5 million extension he signed ahead of the 1993 season was the largest contract in baseball history at the time. Who knows what a Ripken extension would look like in 2021?

3. JJ Hardy

It’s always hard to follow Ripken, but Hardy might be the most unexpected entry on this list.

Hardy played his final seven MLB seasons with the Orioles and made $73.7 million over that stretch. He was named an All-Star in 2013 and he got a pay bump with a three-year, $40 million deal that ran from 2015 to 2017.

Between his time in Baltimore and Minnesota, he picked up two All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. In all, he made just over $82 million in career.

2. Adam Jones

Jones built quite the career in Baltimore.

Entering the big leagues at 20 years old, Jones was traded to the O’s after spending two seasons in Seattle. From there, he spent the next 11 years in black and orange and made $96.49 million in that span.

Jones became one of the faces of the franchise and helped the team end a 15-year playoff drought in 2012. The outfielder was named an All-Star and Gold Glover that season and finished sixth in the AL MVP race.

Jones played on several one-year contracts before inking a six-year, $85.5 million deal ahead of the 2013 campaign. He ended his MLB career following the 2019 season after earning $102,471,180 all together.

 

1. Chris Davis

Now we get to the most expensive -- and perhaps the most conflicting -- player in O’s history.

Davis was a beast in his prime. He led all of baseball with 53 homers and 138 RBIs in 2013 and led the league in homers again with 47 in 2015. While that play was a blessing, what followed became a curse.

The O’s signed the franchise first baseman to a seven-year, $161 million deal in 2016, and his production has fallen off the map ever since. His play is best summed up by his MLB-record 62 consecutive plate appearances without a hit that went from September of 2018 to April of 2019.

Davis has made $100,623,726 with the Orioles. He will not play at all in 2021 and he is still under contract through the end of the 2022 season. To top it all off, he has $42 million deferred from 2032-2037, so the impact of his contract will continue to be felt well beyond his playing days.