Orioles make smart move taking huge Chris Davis contract off table

By Stephen Kerr

The Baltimore Orioles have taken their seven-year, $150 million offer to free agent first baseman Chris Davis off the table, a source told ESPN MLB Insider Buster Olney.

While it’s possible the two sides could resume talks and work out a deal, the team is exploring other options, a source said.

“There’s a lot of rumors out there, lot of interest,” Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said earlier today. “But now’s the time of the year to buckle and for people to make choices, what they’re going to do with their teams, and the players to choose what teams they’re going to play for.”

On the surface, this would seem puzzling, since Davis is coming off a banner year with the Orioles in 2015. He led the major leagues with 47 home runs, and was second in the American League in RBI’s with 117. Over the past four seasons, he’s accumulated 159 homers, more than any current free agent. That’s an average of just under 40 per season.

Beyond the great power numbers is the fact that Davis is prone to long slumps and strikeouts: he led the majors with 208 K’s in 2015. But the real caveat is his agent, Scott Boras, who has a reputation for stalling and pitting teams against one another to create a bidding war.

Whether or not that’s his intention in this case, the Orioles aren’t about to sit around waiting, and they shouldn’t. If Davis doesn’t re-sign, they can use that money on a younger player, like Jason Heyward or Justin Upton. They can’t afford to put all their eggs in one basket, especially with a Boras client. If Davis really wanted to continue playing in Baltimore, he would likely have taken the offer by now, or, at the very least, responded.

Boras will probably get his client a sweet deal, but unless things change where the Orioles are concerned, he’ll be playing elsewhere.