The circle of people who know what the heck is going on with the Orioles pursuit of Chris Davis is a small one. The circle of people talking about the Davis situation is much larger. Seemingly not all of that second group of people knows what's actually going on, which is why, over the course of Thursday, three competing narratives about Davis emerged.
The morning began with a report from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the Orioles have increased their offer to Davis, possibly as high as seven years, $168 million. That's big news, right? Davis, we learned last night in a report that wasn't disputed, is seeking eight years, $200 million. So for the Orioles to offer another $18 million, well, that looks a lot like negotiating to try to get something to happen.
Later on in the morning, immediately after the regular Orioles reporters tweeted out a series of quotes from Dan Duquette, "a source" conveniently spoke to at least three of the Orioles beat crew that was at the Winter Meetings in Nashville to say that the O's have not increased their offer to Davis beyond the seven years, $150 million that was reported previously.
Now, I'm not saying that Duquette spoke to all three of those reporters. But the time stamps on their Twitter timelines make it very clear they were all talking to Duquette, got the same quotes from Duquette five minutes previously, and then simultaneously spoke to "a source" - because they concurrently tweeted that information. Whoever they are, "an Orioles source" certainly talked to them all at once in some way.
That source contradicts Rosenthal directly. Does that mean what Rosenthal said is wrong? No. It's entirely possible that source lied to the reporters' faces! Or in a group text, or whatever. This could all be part of some hardball negotiating dance through the media. By the same token, whoever talked to Rosenthal could potentially be trying to drive up the Davis price.
Right around the same time, ESPN's Buster Olney also reported that the O's hadn't increased their seven year offer, but, he added the further detail the offer is off the table. That's also big news! Except he was the only one saying it, and right after saying the offer is off the table, he added that the O's "would pick up the thread of past talks."
That sounds like the offer is more or less still on the table there. I mean, if you say it's "off the table" but you're willing to resume at the previously-discussed point at a moment's notice, have you really withdrawn the offer at all? This is making my head hurt.
So there's your three stories. The Orioles have either offered Davis $168 million, or $150 million, or they've now offered him nothing at all because they've moved on. Glad we've cleared that up.
Still unanswered in all of this is who else, exactly, might be interested in Davis enough to start some negotiations even after seeing the $200 million price tag. The Cardinals were vaguely linked as interested nearly three weeks ago and there hasn't been a whole lot else about that since.
Unlike another big free agent, Jason Heyward, whose market of interested teams is very clearly defined in the press, nobody really knows about Davis. Are they bidding against themselves? Are they bidding at all? Is there another team out there lurking, waiting to either jump in with a big offer late in the process or with a smaller offer after the Orioles get fed up and move on to other players? Someone knows, but they don't seem to be talking.
No one has said much of anything about the Davis situation since noon. The reason for that is simple. Everyone is flying away from Nashville. Maybe we'll find out more tomorrow. No, "find out more" is the wrong thing to say. We haven't found out anything today. But maybe more things will be said about Davis and maybe some of it will even be true.