Only a desperate man or an idiot would enter a season with the plan of having Chris Davis be an every day corner outfielder. Although certain GMs may act in confusing ways from time to time, there are no idiots running MLB teams, and with the corner outfield market already seeming to be saturated, desperation hasn't set in - or at least not on the part of teams. Perhaps agent Scott Boras, whom ESPN's Buster Olney reported is trying to sell teams on Davis as a regular outfielder, is the desperate man.
It's all starting to paint a picture of a scenario where Davis and the Orioles kind of need one another. It's been over a month now since the Orioles were reported to have offered Davis a seven year contract for $154 million in guaranteed money. Since then, not one team has emerged as an alternate destination for Davis, and now we find out that Boras is trying to shop Davis as an outfielder.
The Orioles may not have bid high enough to get Davis into the fold right away, but it seems like they offered enough that at least so far, every other team has been scared away. Now, that could change at any time, because this is Boras we're talking about. Contracts of this magnitude tend to be run directly through the owner, and it would only take one owner other than Peter Angelos to say to himself, "Wait a minute, I can get a guy who just hit 47 home runs on my team?"
Unless that happens, you have to figure the Orioles are the front runners by virtue of there being no other runners. That's a strange realization to sink in for someone like me who simply assumed as soon as free agency began that Davis would be gone. Then again, I also assumed that Matt Wieters and Darren O'Day would be 100% gone. Remember, I know even less than Jon Snow.
The Orioles have a couple of other options, or at least they've been reported to have given some consideration to other options. Free agent outfielders - actual outfielders, mind you - Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes have been said to be on the radar. It's none too clear how seriously the O's are interested in those guys or whether it's all just trying to keep some leverage so they don't have to completely break the bank to ultimately retain Davis.
That the O's could use the all-time Eutaw Street home run champion Davis in their lineup is no question. He is a strong dude who hits plenty of other homers that don't land on Eutaw Street too. But they could also stand to get another real outfielder. We all saw what a mess the Orioles were in left field last year, and to a lesser extent in right field.
Right now, those spots would seem to belong to Hyun Soo Kim and Nolan Reimold, and the void at first base left by Davis is set to be filled by Mark Trumbo. That leaves the designated hitter to be, uh... Jimmy Paredes? That doesn't exactly scream "World Series" or even "wild card contention."
Any other team would have to give up its top available draft pick to sign Davis. The Orioles would merely lose out on the compensation pick they might have gotten for Davis signing elsewhere. He's a known quantity here. Fans are already invested in him as well. Are those good reasons to sign him? Maybe it's all a horrible idea, a train crash waiting to happen. Seven years is a lot of years.
The 2016 Orioles need Davis, though. So do the 2017 and 2018 Orioles, teams who still have Adam Jones and Manny Machado signed to play here. The time to win is now. They can't completely throw caution to the wind, but whether they sign Davis, Upton, Cespedes, or none of the above, the potential benefit in years 1-3 is something they won't be able to get without also absorbing risk in years 4-7. Everyday position players who are a sure thing to perform like stars don't sign for three years.
As things stand right now, a reunion seems like it might be the best option for both sides. No team should bite on Davis as an outfielder. No other team seems to need or want him as a first baseman. Until there's a twist, that only leaves the Orioles.