Baltimore Orioles: A Chris Davis scenario to avoid
As has been well-documented here and elsewhere, the Baltimore Orioles’ top off season priority is to re-sign first baseman Chris Davis. That much we know, and we’ve known since the beginning of the 2015 season. Having said that, MLBtraderumors has released it’s prediction of where the top 50 free agents will end up. For starters, Davis is listed as the #5 free agent on the board…
…and they’re not predicting him to stay with the O’s. They have him going to the St. Louis Cardinals for six years $144 million. First off, for that amount of time and money I would hope that the Orioles would be able to keep him. That’s certainly in the neighborhood of what I’ve thought would be reasonable for Davis, which was five years $150 million. The difference is negligible. But I digress.
St. Louis wouldn’t be the worst landing spot for Davis from the perspective of the Orioles. Not only would he be out of the AL East, but he’d be out of the American League. So if you’re going to lose the guy, that’s exactly the type of team you’d prefer him to go to.
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
However the Orioles still need to take the revenue that they would have given to Davis and put it elsewhere – besides an aging journeyman. Which brings me to the #2 free agent on their list: Jason Heyward. They have him signing with the New York Yankees for ten years $200 million. Those two things combined are somewhat of a doomsday senario for the O’s.
For the record, based on that scenario Heyward would make less per year than Davis would – so for that money they might as well sign Davis. (The term of the contract itself is longer of course.) However losing the power that Davis represents and having to watch a division rival like New York gain a player like Heyward would be a back-breaker for the Orioles. Ultimately Davis isn’t the only free agent about whom the O’s have to worry – but they can’t allow things to go down like that.
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We saw what happened when Toronto got stronger right under the Orioles’ nose; they ended up taking what belonged to the Birds. However an AL East in which the Orioles lose Davis and New York gains a player like Heyward is not a pretty picture for the O’s in 2016. Am I suggesting that the O’s should go after Jason Heyward instead of Chris Davis? Not necessarily…
…but I’m not necessarily saying that shouldn’t happen. Keep in mind that the O’s do still need a corner outfielder with a bat. Heyward, while his HR total has been down, would fit that mold. Would the O’s consider foregoing Davis and going after a player like Heyward?
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In a perfect world they’d try to get both. However I think the likelihood of Davis staying is stronger than Heyward signing in Baltimore. But what I’m saying is that the O’s need to prevent losing a piece like Davis, while allowing a division rival to get that much stronger. And since Dan Duquette can only control one team, that could be a tough act to pull off.