The subject keeps coming up and I feel the need to continue my attempts to provide some clarity. New year, old topic.
The Orioles aren’t closed for business despite how Chris Davis remains on the free agent market and their $150 million offer is being treated like those jelly-filled chocolates that you spit out as a kid.
They traded for Mark Trumbo and signed Hyun Soo Kim. They gave $31 million to setup man Darren O’Day. They’re pursuing another left-handed bat and a starting pitcher. It appears that they’re checking whether the price drops for a high-profile outfielder such as Yoenis Cespedes.
As I’ve written, re-signing Davis would simplify matters for the Orioles as they envision how to construct the rest of their roster. The emphasis on finding another left-handed bat might diminish. They’d be able to project Trumbo as their primary designated hitter. But they’re not handcuffed while agent Scott Boras tries to unearth a mystery team for Davis.
It’s more like being inconvenienced.
Most people in the warehouse are fine with removing the offer and not looking back, and that’s been the case since the Winter Meetings. It was there, he declined it, end of story. But managing partner Peter Angelos is leaving the door cracked. It’s his call, and he’s still willing to take them from Boras. He’s still hopeful that Davis will lose patience and push for a deal to get done.
I’m in favor of signing Pedro Alvarez and making him the primary designated hitter. Forget his defense. Team him with Trumbo and the Orioles won’t be hurting for home runs without Davis.
Alvarez’s stock is so low, the Pirates non-tendered him after failing to find a trade partner. They didn’t get a single offer, according to reports.
A former first-round pick in search of a bounceback season. This is right in executive vice president Dan Duquette’s wheelhouse.
The Orioles could sign Alvarez and still have $150 million left over for Davis - and there isn’t another player in free agency allowed to touch it - but here’s where it gets complicated. Having Davis back at first base and Alvarez as the DH leaves right field for Trumbo, which takes manager Buck Showalter out of his comfort zone.
The Orioles view first base as Trumbo’s best position and that’s where he’s currently scheduled to get most of his work in spring training. Putting Trumbo in right field and Kim in left wouldn’t be ideal for a team that takes such pride in its defense.
Center fielder Adam Jones may go on the disabled list with exhaustion.
Showalter likes flexibility, but Kim apparently is a left fielder or DH. Alvarez can play third and first base, but nobody wants to be subjected to it. Davis can play the outfield, but Showalter wouldn’t do it on a regular basis.
The uncertainty with Davis makes it risky to sign a player who’s best suited to serve as the DH. The Orioles should go for it and not come up with 150 million reasons to resist, but be aware of the potential for complications down the road.