What can the Baltimore Orioles do moving forward after Chris Davis’ signing?
A lot of folks expressed surprise yesterday at the fact that the Baltimore Orioles re-signed first baseman Chris Davis to a long-term deal. I suppose that given the Orioles’ track record of never giving contracts of that magnitude I can understand that. Even in the darkest hours of the negotiations, I always thought in the back of my mind that they’d get it done.
And I don’t say that because it actually happened. Peter Angelos doesn’t really get involved in player negotiations for the most part. I suspect that he has to sign off on larger contracts, and I can’t blame any owner for wanting to do that. However when I heard that Angelos had taken such a personal interest in bringing Davis back to Baltimore, I figured this time would be different.
Regardless of how it happened or why, Davis is coming back to the Orioles – and he’ll be here for at least the next seven years. One thing that was erroneously reported both here and in various other outlets was the part about Davis’ no-trade clause. Originally the report was that it was a full no-trade clause, however now I’m hearing it’s only partial. There’s a list of teams to whom the Orioles could in theory trade Davis if they wanted. However again, if there was a need or a push to do so (presumably at the end of the contract) and the Birds had a contender to whom they wanted to trade Davis, there’s always the chance that he waives it.
Nevertheless, where do the Orioles go from here? Or better phrased, where do they need to go? With the return of Davis and the addition of Mark Trumbo and Hyun Soo Kim, the O’s have actually upgraded their roster year-over-year. Remember, Trumbo was actually an insurance policy more than anything else at the time they acquired him. The thought was that he could possibly replace Davis at first base – if Davis didn’t sign. Now that Davis is coming back, that lineup looks more formidable.
Obviously the big need right now is starting pitching, and that’s something that the O’s will want to address as soon as possible. They obviously lost Chen, however it’s unclear as to whether or not Dylan Bundy might be an in-house option. That’s something that will play out over the course of Florida Grapefruit League play. One thing we know for sure however is that Bundy has to be on the roster in some form, otherwise the Orioles lose him.
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I know that the O’s do have interest in free agent Doug Fister, however the price is going to have to come down if they’re going to sign him. And quite frankly, we’re starting to near the point of the hot stove season where prices might start to drop if guys don’t sign. Mind you, pitchers and catchers report two weeks after the soon-approaching Super Bowl 50!
Speaking of which, were the reports of an offer to Yoenis Cespedes earlier this week more of a red herring than anything else? I would say no; the Birds actually made an offer, presumably while the Davis negotiations were ongoing. So does that mean that Cespedes could still land in Baltimore? I think that the odds are probably against it (unless he agreed to a one-year deal), but you never know. The Orioles are a contender now, but if you add a solid starting pitcher and another big bat like that of Cespedes, I think you’d possibly have a bona fide World Series contender.
A lot of people also questioned how the Davis signing would affect Manny Machado in a few years when his contract is up. One free agent at a time, folks. Trying to figure out how to sign all of these all-star caliber players is a good problem to have. And most Orioles fans would have never thought it possible to hav to worry about things like this circa 2006 or so!