18 December 2015

Orioles Are Reportedly Only Interested In Spending $100 Million-Plus On Chris Davis

It's hard for fans not to get caught up in the entertainment of free agency and the thought of plugging in one or two top free agents into their favorite team's lineup. Unfortunately, it's time to come back to reality, because it doesn't appear the Orioles will be doing anything of the sort.

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.

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.
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.

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.


Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that the Orioles shouldn't re-sign Chris Davis. I'm convinced a 7yr 150 mil deal is highly unlikely to work out favorably.
Still, as a fan, I want to see Chris Davis hitting home runs in Baltimore.
It isn't particularly logical, it isn't particularly rational, but I still want it.
Plus I want to make the pretty unfavorable bet that Machado/Davis/Jones/Trumbo will out homer Donaldson/Bautista/Encarnacion/Tulowitzki which would be really, really cool.
I mean serious rotation and on-base/contact issues aside, it's hard to deny that the Orioles are going to hit a ton of HRs in 2016, especially if they sign Davis.
Projections: Kim (10), Machado (23), Davis (37), Jones (25), Trumbo (21), Wieters (12), Schoop (16), Hardy (12), Reimonld (10) which adds up to 164.
I'll absolutely take the over on Machado and Trumbo by a good margin, and Wieters and Schoop by a bit as well.
I think Jonathan looked more like a .250/.300/.450 bat last year than the .251/.291/.429 bat he's projected as. OK I guess I disagree mostly about the slugging percentage.
I feel like the projection systems are pretty conservative for Machado, maybe something to do with his knee surgeries and lesser plate discipline prior to last year. Manny Machado is six months younger than Kris Bryant, isn't that crazy? (I think it was mlbtr, maybe fangraphs chat the other day that suggested Bryant would command the larger free agent contract were they both free agents today. I have to say, I disagree, though I see the argument based on Machado's knee surgeries).
I don't really feel comfortable guessing on Trumbo and Wieters. Maybe the Orioles two biggest offensive wildcards. It's hard to judge both defensively: Trumbo has been juggled around between teams and positions without getting a chance to settle in somewhere, and Wieters isn't too far removed from TJ. Offensively, Camden Yards is Trumbo's first hitters ballpark (except 50 games in Arizona where he slugged .500). There is no question about the power, definitely legit.
Side question, who do you think hits more HRs next year, Byung-Ho Park or Mark Trumbo? Seems like they'd have fairly similar profiles.

Anonymous said...

Comment summary:
1) Would you guys take the over/under on the Machado (23), Trumbo (21), Schoop (16), and Wieters (12) home run projections?
2) If Kris Bryant and Manny Machado were both free agents right now, who would get a larger contract?
3) How do the profiles of Byung-Ho Park and Mark Trumbo compare? Who will hit more HRs in 2015?

Dustin said...

I know this borders on sounding like an 'Angelos is pocketing all the money argument' (which is an argument I usually feel is lazy and unthoughtful), but here goes:

If a team has 'earmarked' $150 million for one player, doesn't it stand to reason that the money should be out there for another talented player? I mean, if you go out to get dinner somewhere, and your favorite restaurant has a two hour wait, you don't go 'Oh well, we tried, let's go home and eat beans out of a can', right? You were going to spend money on dinner in the first place, and you're already out, so why not go to another place that you can enjoy as well? Now, I can understand not wanting to eat McDonalds once you've been turned away from the elegant seafood place, but I'm sure there's something else out there that would be enticing and make your night worthwhile. This analogy has gone way, way too far.

With Mike Illitch, Artie Moreno, etc., we've seen a lot of owners step in on these big deals the past few years. I get it. It's Angelos' team, and he can (and should) run it the way that he wants to. But if the report is true that the team was willing to offer $150 million dollars to Chris Davis, but some or most of that money does not get spent on other players (superstars, stars, or even just a bunch of middle-of-the-road guys), it's hard to justify that this team's motives are in line with what we as fans think they should be (improving the team). I hate that previous statement, because it sounds so trite and uninformed, but that's how this ordeal is coming off.

The Orioles, and Peter Angelos, with this move, are beginning to look a lot like the LA Clippers under Donald Sterling, minus the racist slumlord stuff.

Anonymous said...

What about from a PR perspective?

It is no secret, both front offices and agents leak information at times to better their negotiation position. How about Zobrist's $80m offer?
To that extent, I have to believe what the Orioles have done with Davis is brilliant. They are in a difficult position with the fan base on how to handle Davis. Typically, Boras negotiations are kept tight-lipped... but each meeting, each offer from the Orioles with Boras has been highly publicized... The Orioles PR person has certainly controlled the image to make Davis look like the bad guy here for not accepting an offer (or at the very least make the Orioles look like they gave their best effort).

However, while the Orioles are winning the public relation battle for Davis, it might have cost them dearly for the other free agents. The market isn't shaping up well for the remaining OF after Heyward - (Cespedes, Gordon, Upton) as it seems at least one of these players might sign below what was expected. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2599400-fact-or-fiction-on-all-of-mlb-offseason-week-6s-free-agency-trade-rumors

I assume any agent would push the Orioles for the $150m tabbed for Davis for their player. So how does this then work out? How can the O's so publicly offer Davis a big payday, then go back to offering lowball offers to the remaining OF?
The answer - leak info about an almost laughable story about how that money was tabbed for Davis alone and no one else. Oddly the history (or perceived image) of Angelos looks like it is just enough to cast just a shadow of doubt the story might indeed be true.

For me, I am not buying it - I do believe that the Orioles will make an offer to one of the OF mentioned, and if we land one of them, it will be for below their expected signing.
As much as I'd like to see the roster take shape now, it makes more sense to wait out the market which is Duquette's MO anyway.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I typically believe that things are much less sinister than they appear, and in this case it seems like the Orioles are trying to go beyond what they'd normally do to bring back a player the fans and owner really like. But should fans be expected to accept that? No way.

And to Anon No. 4: I'm still not sure how leaking this story helps them actually sign one of the expensive outfielders. They still have to outbid other teams. The most likely scenario is that they spread the money around on a couple more low- to mid-level signings and then call it a day. And that would be pretty disappointing, depending on the specific moves.

tony2302 said...

hey! it's Christmas and here is what i want from Santa.1: Davis fires Boras and accepts a shorter term contract for roughly 5/100M IF they agree to 1a: earmark the other 50M to improve the roster and 1b: give him a player option for a 6thyr.
2: Pete does this and also opens the purse a tad more to sign one more mid tier pitcher as the 50M will be to get an upper tier player.
like i said it's Christmas. maybe Pete will get into the seasonal spirit. lol.

Unknown said...

I am convinced as long as cheap ass Angelo's owns this team then we are destined to never win the series 150 million could bring in a lights out picher or even Upton.so looks like unless we sign Davis bargen basement shopping as ussual. What's up with all this masn money I for one have always refused to support masn as beat I can since as usual cheaper Angelo's is just making his own pockets fat and saying screw u again bmore.

Chicago Curmudgeon said...

What is sad is that the team is too stingy to try, and too proud to rebuild. If they were finally building their international scouting and signing international minor league free agents and otherwise building their coaching of and scouting for minor league players I could see that as at least redirecting effort. In strategy they call this "stuck in the middle." It is a sad place of indecision.

Dustin said...

@Chicago Curmudgeon

While I would have agreed with this opinion a few years ago, I don't know if the climate is the same as it used to be. Especially not the way that the American League is projecting to be. Not all the moves have been made, and so there are some teams that could distance themselves one way or the other moving into ST, but man... It really looks like every single team in the AL could have a realistic chance of making the playoffs this season.

I really do think that any team projected for 80 or more wins can find themselves in the thick of it. Some good sequencing or some fortuitous 'luck' can really be the difference between a team that wins 82 games and a team that wins 87 games and catching the last playoff spot. So, from the Orioles standpoint, I don't think there's any reason to tear things down right now. That being said, I don't think this team is going to the playoffs, and losing Davis (or signing Davis, really) wouldn't be the difference, ultimately.