Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun wrote last night that the team's $150 million offer "was earmarked for [Chris] Davis only." Here's more:
There was hope among the fan base that if the Orioles didn't agree to a deal with Davis, that money would be shifted toward a player like [Justin] Upton.None of the above is shocking, and a large segment of the fan base would be delighted if Davis were to return at any cost. But you rarely, if ever, want to see "reward for past successes" as a driving force to re-sign a player. That's precisely what many were afraid of when it came to potentially overpaying for Nick Markakis. And that's also what leads to fanciful and misguided pieces of writing like this.
But according to an industry source, managing partner Peter Angelos stepped out of his comfort zone to make the club-record offer because of what Davis has meant to the franchise and community since coming here as part of a trade from Texas in 2011. It was, in part, a reward for his past successes as well as an admission that Davis' prodigious power — he has homered more over the last four seasons than any other player — is a rare commodity.
So surprising is the wrong word to describe this latest chapter in the O's offseason, but maybe perplexing isn't. The Orioles have a clear need for at least one talented, high-ceiling player. Obviously they routinely look for ways to avoid risk, and one way to do that is to not spend big in the free agent market.
But that's not what the Orioles are saying; they're saying that they'll (or that Angelos will) only spend that type of money this offseason on Davis. Simply put, that is baffling. Either you completely stay away from these mega-deals because you think they're too high-risk or you don't. Making the exception for Davis only -- maybe the fifth- or sixth-best free agent this offseason -- is just bizarre.
The Orioles clearly prefer to spend big on their own players, who they are much more familiar with. That's why Adam Jones, whose extension was viewed as a smart move for both Jones and the team at the time (and still looks excellent), has the team's largest contract. The Orioles typically avoid the cream of the crop in free agency. But when the Orioles have demonstrated they have the money to spend and a player like Upton seems to possess less risk than Davis, it shouldn't matter that he's never played for the Orioles.
If most fans were being honest with themselves, they most likely figured some type of report like this was coming. And it makes earlier mentions that the Orioles could be even a remote possibility for David Price's services even more laughable.