One of the ongoing Orioles mysteries from this week's Winter Meetings was where exactly things stood in their negotiations with Chris Davis. Different people have said different things at different times. At Saturday's Orioles FanFest, GM Dan Duquette told O's reporters that the team has withdrawn its offer to Davis and that they are moving on to explore other avenues.
So that settles that, right? Well, not so fast, because The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly checked in with Davis' agent, Scott Boras, to get the perspective from the other side. Boras told Connolly that he has "no indication that the Orioles have closed the door in their negotiations" regarding Davis.
Worth noting that these are not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts being explored. Boras, in his comment to Connolly, does not specifically address the reported pulling of the $150 million offer. His statement about whether the O's have closed the door is the answer to a different question.
Duquette's comment about the offer being withdrawn is interesting because it's the first time that's been addressed on the record, rather than through vague "sources," but he also would not say to reporters that the O's have moved on entirely from Davis. Both of these positions can be true at the same time. So we may well have been told something new that offers no additional clarity on the situation whatsoever.
Boras claims that he's maintaining dialogue with multiple teams about Davis, including the Orioles. As of yet, there has been no solid report on any other team seriously pursuing Davis. Duquette claims the Orioles are talking to other free agents, particularly left-handed hitters, but we haven't heard a whole lot about that specifically, either.
It all still seems like an elaborate dance regarding Davis, and will probably seem like it until the Orioles spend money on a different free agent that would seem to preclude their also signing Davis.
The notion of the Orioles having upped their offer to seven years and $168 million, which was one of the competing rumors from Thursday, has fallen by the wayside, at least for now. So we're down to two competing and not completely contradictory Davis rumors, both of which could be efforts to stand firm in a negotiation, either of which could be subject to change at a moment's notice. The hot stove season in a nutshell.
One thing that is new is that Adam Jones seems to be happy with the efforts the Orioles have made to keep Davis. He told O's reporters that "it shows they care" and that "they're not just blowing smoke up our tails."
Of course this isn't the most important consideration at play, but after Jones seemed to be irritated that the Orioles didn't make a greater effort to keep Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz last offseason, it's progress in its own way to know he feels satisfied. Better if spring training is full of happy comments rather than the occasionally disgruntled things that emerged from the players about the direction of the team this past March.