Baltimore Orioles: The Expectations for Gallardo, O’Day, and Chris Davis
How much of an impact will the big money have on the 2016 season?
The Baltimore Orioles have spent almost $250 Million dollars this off season, the most in franchise history, primarily on Darren O’Day, Chris Davis, and more recently Yovani Gallardo. Although all three players have landed career high paychecks, there are a lot of expectations that come along with those dollars.
As fans, it’s easy for us to become disappointed. When your ballclub goes out and spends as much money as Baltimore has, you want results. At the same time, we have to be cognoscente of what the realistic expectations of these acquisitions may be.
Darren O’Day was the first of the three to free agents to sign his 4-yr $31 Million contract. Darren will make $6M in 2016, $7M in 2017 and $9M in both 2018 and 2019. This is the largest contract ever given to a relief pitcher by Baltimore and the largest of O’Day’s career. O’Day’s 2015 All-Star campaign was his best of the four great years he’s put in at Baltimore since coming over from Texas.
In 2012 the 33-yr old finished the season with a 2.28 Era and 9.26 SO per 9 IP. He has steadily improved on his ERA every year, 2.18 (2013), 1.70 (2014), 1.52 (2015), while maintaining his impressive SO rating. These numbers position him amongst the league’s better set up men, if not the best. Between O’Day and closer Zach Britton, who is known as having the single best pitch in baseball, Baltimore has the best one two punch in the AL.
When it comes to living up to expectations, Darren O’Day is the most likely to do so. He has been steady Eddy and I have no doubt he will continue to be so. Taking a stab at projecting his performance for the coming season, I predict he will end 2016 with a 7-0 record, a 1.49 Era, 80 SO, 5 SV’s, and we’ll most likely see him in the All-Star game again.
Chris Davis received the Orioles largest ever contract, signing a 7-yr $161-Million-dollar deal. The 29-yr old Davis will make $17 Million per year through 2022. Each year he has the opportunity to reach $21,118,782 by hitting incentives. $42 Million has been deferred from 2023-2037, which has been great because it allowed Baltimore the flexibility to sign a couple more key pieces.
In his four and a quarter years Davis has been with Baltimore he has accumulated 161 HR’s, 118 Dbl’s 425 RBI’s and averaged .258 batting. He has by far been the Orioles most productive player regardless of his number of strikeouts. As fans we know exactly what we’re going to get out of Davis, a ton of HR’s, RBI’s, and he’s going to get walked a lot.
Baltimore has a ferocious lineup and Davis is the anchor. I don’t see any reason why he won’t lead the league in HR’s again in 2016, his only real competition in ex-Oriole Nelson Cruz. He knows what he needs to work on year in and year out to develop better plate discipline and make sure he’s as effective as he can be.
When asked about living up to the big contract and if there are great expectations, during the press conference announcing his resigning, Davis said “I hope there are expectations.” He went on to discuss how, as a professional athlete, pressure is self-inflicted and that he has equally high expectations for himself.
The kind of pure talent the big man possesses is a rare sight and that doesn’t just disappear. Davis is only 29 and is in the peak of his career. I don’t see his offensive power numbers coming down at all, especially with a guy like Davis who holds himself as accountable as he does. I predict Chris to finish the year batting .280 with 45 HR’s, 30 Dbls, and over 100 RBI’s. I believe he’ll be joining Darren O’Day at the All-Star game.
Yovani Gollardo is the most recent acquisition by the Orioles, signing him to a 3-yr deal for $35 Million. This is a fairly reasonable contract for a middle of the rotation pitcher. Gallardo will receive $9 Million this year, $11 Million in 2017, $13 Million in 2018 with an option for 2019 at the same price. This is the largest paycheck of Gallardo’s career coming off of a decent 2015, in which he won 14 competitions.
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Although Gallardo isn’t the type of pitcher to find himself in a Cy Young race, he is consistent. He’s averaged 14 Wins and a 3.66 Era over his 9-yr career. Yovani is more of a workhorse as he averages 32 starts a year and near 200 IP a year. He won’t highlight the Orioles starting rotation but he will make it a bit sturdier.
It’s more likely that Chris Tillman will lead the Orioles in Wins this year but I do believe Gallardo will stay consistent and give Baltimore 14 Wins this year while maintaining a high 3’s Era. The biggest change expected out of Gallardo will be his clean shaven face being the Orioles have a strict no beard policy.
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I fully expect Baltimore to win the division. In order for that to happen all three of these men need to hold themselves accountable and perform to the highest level they can. The only player that has a no-trade clause is Davis, so they shouldn’t rule out being traded if they can’t fulfill their value.