Odds and ends on Chris Davis

No matter where I go, no matter what time of day or night, I’m challenged by friends and fans to place odds on the Orioles re-signing first baseman Chris Davis.

When did I go from sportswriter to bookmaker?

The best I can offer is this: The Orioles remain in the running for Davis. They aren’t scared away by projections of six- and seven-year deals ranging from $144 million to $182 million.

I wrote on Oct. 5 that managing partner Peter G. Angelos said it “remains his intention” to re-sign Davis, and that goal hasn’t changed after more than a month. Does it make the Orioles a favorite in the bidding? Not at all, though this is coming from an amateur bookie.

Chris Davis profile sunglasses.jpgAngelos recently met with agent Scott Boras to discuss Davis, making clear his desire to work out a deal. The Orioles aren’t saying much publicly due to the sensitive nature of negotiations. They aren’t classifying talks as positive or negative.

One person in the organization used the word “productive,” but that’s the most you’re going to get at this point.

Consider it positive that the Orioles haven’t walked away, that they remain hopeful of reaching an agreement. The issue, though, is how long they can wait for Davis to make a decision. Unless their solution is in-house, they risk losing out on other options. And no matter how much the Orioles like their guys, they must recognize the gap between Davis and prospects Christian Walker and Trey Mancini, who may need more seasoning.

Newly signed Ji-Man Choi is a longer shot. I wouldn’t put him in the discussion.

A big selling point with Davis is his popularity in Baltimore. Of course, Nick Markakis also had a huge following here and he was a homegrown product, but he didn’t lead the majors in home runs two out of three seasons or carry the nickname “Crush” or become something of a cult figure.

Markakis is a low-key personality, a quiet leader whose sense of humor is underrated and usually hidden from the public. He’s missed in the clubhouse and at the top of the lineup. Davis has never been accused of being shy. He can be a quote machine and fans eat up every word.

He also hits the ball a really, really long way. Some land on Eutaw Street. Some threaten to land in Utah.

It’s safe to say that I’m not the only one bombarded with questions about Davis. So is everyone with the Orioles, starting at the very top and trickling down.

One official said, “I’ve never seen such intensity.” The same person also noted how Davis is such a “nice guy” and it’s understandable why he’s being embraced. It’s got to be one of the biggest group hugs in history without actually contact.

When I mentioned to someone else connected to the Orioles earlier this week that Angelos had gotten involved in negotiations, the response was, “He’s been involved.” Yes, it’s still a priority to keep Davis in Baltimore.

Will it ultimately happen? I’m still working on the odds.

Let me focus first on this weekend’s NFL games.

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