The more we see of this offseason, the clearer it gets that Chris Davis is going to have to take what the Baltimore Orioles are offering him, or settle for less from the likes of the Detroit Tigers, or someone else waiting for him to make up his mind.
Right now, no one is beating the $154 million, 7-year offer the Orioles made to their slugger, who seemed to be quite patient on orders from Scott Boras, thinking that a better deal is going to fall out of the sky. Boras is selling Davis as an everyday option in left field or right field and as a first baseman. Davis played 30 games last season in right field and 22 games as a designated hitter, but it’s mostly been about first base for him in the last three seasons.
The Tigers aren’t giving this kind of money to Yoenis Cespedes, so why would they go even higher for Davis? They’re probably waiting for him and his agent to come down from their cloud. The deals signed yesterday by Wei-Yin Chen and Gerardo Parra show that the big, extravagant deals have already been handed last month and even earlier than that. Teams still want the free agents that are out there, but not for the kind of money they’re asking.
It won’t be surprising to see the Tigers eventually turn in a different direction. Cespedes is probably gone, and Davis, at over $20 million a season, just seems too expensive. They might eventually return Ryan Raburn and create themselves a platoon of hitters at left field. It might not be as an attractive option as signing Davis and Cespedes which certainly makes splashes, but financially it makes more sense.
Davis hit 47 home runs last season while batting .262 and finishing with a .923 OPS. A rough 2014 was erased, and it seems that he is once again in the kind of form that has made him hit more home runs than anyone in 2013 and 2015, finishing in the top 10 with his offensive WAR numbers in those seasons. He’s going to get a big contract by the time the season begins (training camp begins February 24 for the Orioles), but it just might not be as big as he wished for.