The Orioles have reportedly offered Chris Davis $150 million over seven years. That sounds like a lot of money because it is a lot of money, but it still may not be enough money to entice him to come back to Baltimore. According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, Davis is "believed to be seeking a $200 million, eight-year deal." That is also a lot of money.
As these things go, you can pretty well guess that if Heyman "believes" that's what Davis is seeking, that's because it's what Davis's agent, Scott Boras, told him that he's seeking. The connection between that reporter and agent is one of those things everyone who follows the baseball rumor mill "knows", although probably not well enough that you could get away with saying it without getting slapped with a "citation needed" on Wikipedia.
A gap of $50 million is a pretty significant gap, to say the least. Whether Davis is lined up to get that money he is seeking is another question. Boras has his ways of shaking out every last dollar, but if there's no market at a price level, there's only so much he can do. None of the reporter class really seems to know who else may be in on Davis.
Bridging that gap sounds complicated, although maybe it really isn't that much. A deal of eight years and $200 million gives an average annual value (AAV) of $25 million. The Orioles are offering a bit more than $21 million AAV already. If they were to add an eighth year at the existing AAV, they'd be "only" $30 million apart; if they upped their seven-year offer to the AAV Davis seeks, now they're "only" $25 million apart and they can start haggling over some kind of option year.
UPDATE: Maybe the gap isn't even as high as all that at this time? Here's Heyman, who again conveniently has the inside scoop on a bidding process involving a Boras player:
Orioles are now OVER $150M on Davis bid. There's a gap but situation is "fluid." story on @CBSSports— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 10, 2015
The two big questions here are how far over, and whether the Davis side will be willing to come down from the initial ask, of course. Surely some people know the answer to that, but they aren't people who are talking about it. So in the meantime we all must guess, and possibly panic and run around screaming as if our hair was on fire.
Then sometimes reporters have conflicting information. Here's MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli:
So really there's a third big question, which is, what the hell is going on? And some people know the answer to that too, but they're not talking about it.
One further contribution comes from MASN's Roch Kubatko, who gives a fairly strong hint that owner Peter Angelos was directly involved in the negotiation with Boras today.
Boras holding court at the Winter Meetings is one of those baseball traditions. He did so today and obliquely referenced having "been in talks with a number of teams" about Davis, and that he has more meetings still to come. We'll see about that. There are only so many teams who can even be involved at that price range.
At least initially, it doesn't sound like Dan Duquette has much interest in jumping to meet that price tag. "Who are we competing against?" he asked O's reporters rhetorically in his nightly debriefing with them. Duquette also indicated another question the team must ask themselves: "How much resources are you going to put towards one part of your team?" A $25 million salary for 2016 is probably 15-18% of next year's payroll. That's a lot.
None of this means Davis is gone for sure, but it does mean there's either going to be a lot of negotiating to get a deal done, or one of these two sides is going to have to blink.