Orioles reportedly offer Chris Davis 7-year, $150 million contract


The Baltimore Orioles are making a huge push to keep slugger Chris Davis in town.

With Ben Zobrist signing with the Chicago Cubs yesterday to get the market rolling for position players, many of the top free-agent hitters figure to come off the board in the coming days.  That includes free agent first baseman Chris Davis, who has a seven-year, $150 million offer to stay with the Baltimore Orioles according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

That comes as a bit of a surprise, as Baltimore has been hesitant to give big contracts to free agents in the past. The Orioles have never dished out a contract higher than Adam Jones’ six-year, $86.5 million deal back in 2012, so many expected Davis to head elsewhere.

Still, the Orioles have good reason to make such a big push for Davis. Power is extremely expensive on the open market, and Davis has led the Majors with 116 total home runs over the past three seasons. Baltimore is coming off a .500 season and is kind of stuck between rebuilding and contention, a core of Davis, Jones and Manny Machado at least keeps them in the discussion.

Around $21 million per season would likely be good value for Davis. One WAR is expected to cost around $8 million in free agency this season, and Davis is coming off of a 5.6 WAR season according to FanGraphs.com.

Davis could likely get something close to $25 million per year from another team. The question will be if someone is willing to match the seven years Baltimore offered.

If another possible fit like the Houston Astros or Toronto Blue Jays are willing to commit seven years to Davis, he will likely get a better deal than the one the Orioles offered. However, those teams may want Davis on a shorter deal worth more per season, meaning there’s a chance he stays in Baltimore.

Davis is 29 years old and doesn’t have the type of skill set that ages well, so he likely would not be a very effective player by the end of a seven-year contract. Still, that’s the norm for any big free agent, and Davis would be easily worth the $150 million barring a huge drop-off in the next two or three years.

Losing Davis would not be the end of the world for the Orioles. Baltimore has a few holes in the roster, particularly in the starting rotation, and that $150 million could go to improving other parts of the club.