A 47-homer season paid handsome dividends for Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, as he just agreed to a seven-year deal worth $161 million, pending a physical, according to MLB insider Jon Heyman.
Despite a rough 2014 season in which Davis batted just .196 with 26 homers in only 127 games, his 2015 turnaround, coupled with his overall success in Baltimore the past four-plus seasons, made him a priority for the Orioles this offseason. In the past three seasons, Davis slugged 126 homers.
It was not a cut-and-dry process though. Orioles manager Buck Showalter expressed frustration during the negotiation process, as he questioned how much money Davis really needed.
“How much is enough?” said Showalter on Wednesday, when the Baltimore Sun asked him about the prolonged contract talks. “I asked Chris during the season, ‘Chris, when you walk into a Target store, can you buy anything you want? So, how much is enough?'”
It appears that $161 million was the magic number, and with the re-signing of “Crush,” the Orioles look poised to be a contender again this season. They finished with a non-losing record for the fourth straight year in 2015, but were 12 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the final AL East standings.
With the departure of starting pitcher Wei-Yei Chen, the Baltimore offense must step up. The nucleus of shortstop Manny Machado, centerfielder Adam Jones, catcher Matt Wieters and Davis need to produce enough firepower to account for a potential drop-off in pitching.
If those four players can make that type of impact, the Orioles could still be playing in October.