Mar 28, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) runs to first during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
The MLB Trade Rumors.com web site on Wednesday featured a profile article on Chris Davis that examined his career numbers and speculated upon where he may end after this trip into free agency is all said and done for the Baltimore Orioles first baseman. Much of the material will be familiar to O’s fans, but it is interesting in particular to see where writer Tim Dierkes believes Davis will eventually continue his career.
Dierkes goes into the many well-known and obvious strengths that Davis has: his home run totals that eclipse everyone since 2012, his power sabermetrics that outshine all except Bryce Harper, his ability to hit to all fields and to hit well against lefties, and his plus defense and versatility beyond first base.
As well, there are the negatives and weaknesses: the suspension issue that cropped up about ADHD medication (though the writer discounts this as a concern), the strike out totals beyond 30% that accumulate to a high number, the none-impressive batting average on balls in play (that I would contend is the result of defensive shifts), and the .196 off year that Davis had in 2014.
He mentions the well-known desire of the Baltimore Orioles to re-sign and keep Davis. But like pretty much absolutely everyone else, the writer does not believe it will actually happen.
“The Orioles have expressed a desire to re-sign Davis, but I believe they’ll be outbid.”
It would be great for the Orioles to actually spend some big money and get this monkey off their backs. The long-term deal with Adam Jones has been forgotten, and the Ubaldo Jimenez four-year contract is simply not in the same league. Since there are so few others recently of this sort (J.J. Hardy would be the closest), it is presumed it simply won’t happen. Yet at the same there has not been as much open space in the budget as there is this offseason. The question is … how much to spend on one person and have enough for all else that needs to be done.
Dierkes estimates that the dollars needed will be $144 million over 6 years. About $24 million a year is what some others have also estimated. I would do that if I was Peter Angeles, but I admit that was an easy statement for me to type!
So if the Orioles don’t do that, who might? Dierkes writes …
“The Astros, Mariners, and Padres are a few speculative fits. There are scenarios where the Angels, Marlins, or Giants could make a play. A half-dozen additional teams could be added if you’re willing to stretch.”
Look at those first two names – the Astros and Mariners.
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Just what Houston needs is more power — after finishing second in the American League to the Blue Jays with 230 (which was two behind Toronto and 13 ahead of the third-place Orioles). The Astros already had five players hit 22 or more homers in 2015: Evan Gattis (27), Luis Valbuena (25), Chris Carter (25), Colby Rasmus (24) and Carlos Correa (22). They will likely lose Rasmus to free agency, though the others all return. Carter is the first baseman and one of the few in the world who can strike out as much as Davis, but the Astros could find a way to use them both.
And then the Mariners … just what Orioles fans would hate seeing is a reunion of Davis and Nelson Cruz. This would be along with Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano. And I have always predicted that Wei-Yin Chen will end up in Seattle. They could become the “Orioles West,” in the same way the Orioles were once called the “Rangers East.”
This will be interesting to see how it plays out, but honestly, the Orioles really do have a shot at making this happen to keep Davis in Baltimore.