As I always feel the need to preface these articles, I’m a big fan of the free market, a player is worth whatever someone will pay them (especially in the MLB), if you can get it somewhere else you should take it, yada yada yada…
But Chris Davis is looking for a heck of a lot of money.
Clearly there’s going to be interest in a guy like Davis. The lefty slugger led the league in home runs this past season and is the only player to have hit more than 50 long balls in the past four years. But to offer a 29-year-old with contact problems a deal that’s anything more than seven years is playing with fire.
While Davis does have the awesome home run and RBI numbers, he did lead the majors in strikeouts last season. He also didn’t get above the Mendoza line in 2014. He’s also a negative defender by almost every metric. So what is it about Davis’ game that makes him such a hot commodity?
Well for starters, he picked a great year to be a free agent. He’s by far the best power hitter still on the market, and frankly it’s not really close. Perhaps Yoenis Cespedes would be next, but there’s a fair share of problems there as well. There are also plenty of teams in the America League looking for bats. In addition to Baltimore, the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Angels have all expressed serious interest in landing Davis. The only National League team who seems to be in the mix is St. Louis. On any of those A.L. teams he could D.H., while only having to go in the field on certain days when the lineup or matchup deems it beneficial.
It seems like Davis is looking for a deal in the range of what Mark Teixeira got from the Yankees (eight-year, $180-million) or what Joey Votto got from the Reds (10-year, $225-million). While the Texeria deal’s effectiveness could be up for debate, so far, the Votto deal is definitely working out. Then again, Votto is a guy who hit .314 last year, so even if he loses a bit of power with age, he can still be a very effective player. The same may not be true for Davis.
The largest contract the Orioles have given out in franchise history is a paltry $88.5 million, which they committed to center fielder Adam Jones. Even if they have plans to up their payroll in an effort to keep up with the highest spending division in baseball, paying that much to one player would really be pushing the envelope, especially when there are holes in plenty of other places in the club.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Orioles resume talks with Davis, and it seems the smart decision would be for him to sign with them. Going over $150 million may not be the best decision for Baltimore five years from now, but it could help them win in the near future. Chris Davis, meanwhile, might be getting away with high seas robbery.