The Baltimore Orioles aren’t letting their top slugger get away this winter. The team re-signed first baseman Chris Davis to a seven-year deal worth a monstrous $161 million on Saturday morning, ensuring that the 29-year old will be spending the bulk of his 30s in Baltimore.
The contract is also the largest in franchise history.
Davis will not receive an opt-out in the deal, but *does* get a no-trade clause.
After a horrific 2014 that culminated with a 25-game suspension for amphetamine use, Davis bounced back in a big way for the Orioles in 2015. In 160 games, he hit .262/.361/.562, leading baseball with 47 home runs and 208 strikeouts. He also branched out from his usual position of first base, logging 253 innings in right field.
The deal isn’t without risk for the Orioles, of course – Davis is a boom or bust player that has seemingly alternated brilliance with disappointment over his career. He had an MVP-caliber 2013 with Baltimore before his brutal 2014, and is a textbook three true outcomes (homers, walks, strikeouts) player.
The move seems especially curious since the Orioles were seemingly bidding against themselves for Davis – news of a contract offer this size initially broke in December, and nothing came of it, including offers from other teams. Considering that Baltimore also was tied to Yoenis Cespedes this week for a contract that would have A) been a shorter term than the seven years Davis got, B) paid out far less than the reported $161 million Davis is getting, and C) would have also given Cespedes less than the $23 million per season Davis is getting, it really does seem like Baltimore made an odd decision here.
With the re-signing of Davis, it appears Baltimore’s offseason is essentially done. Free agent catcher Matt Wieters accepted the team’s one-year qualifying offer, and free agent starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen inked a deal with the Marlins that netted the O’s a compensatory draft pick. It’s hard to look at this team as the favorite in the AL East considering what the Red Sox have done this winter, but they’re solidly in the muck of contenders for a playoff position.