At the press conference to announce the official return of first baseman Chris Davis as an Oriole, executive vice president Dan Duquette talked about the final night of the negotiations. The seven-year deal worth $161 million was finally agreed to last Friday night.
“We always had Chris as a primary target to sign,” Duquette said. “These deals, they have their own timing. Some take a while, some get done quickly. In this case, things came together late Friday night.
“We had the structure of the deal that we ended up agreeing to, we had a lot of that in place. Then Mr. (Peter) Angelos and Scott (Boras, Davis’ agent) talked late into the night on Friday and were able to come together with a deal.”
Duquette talked about this being the largest contract in team history in his opening remarks at Camden Yards.
“This is an historic agreement and the most lucrative contract in the history of the club. Chris has had some terrific years with the Orioles and he is poised to have a really solid career here. I don’t know how many places I went this winter, but people said, ‘You have to sign Chris Davis.’
“When you make an investment like the Orioles have in Chris Davis, obviously it’s a commitment by the ownership and Mr. Angelos to field a competitive team year in and year out. When you invest in a contract like this, you are investing in people. And it gives me great comfort that I know Chris and have a lot of confidence in him. We are just so happy to have him returning.”
Duquette said the Orioles continue to look for a starting pitcher. With the free agent market shrinking, is he more likely to trade for one at this point?
“There are some pitchers out there we like and we’ve also talked to some other teams about pitching,” Duquette said. “The problem in the pitching market is that there are more teams chasing fewer pitchers. There are not enough to go around. That is an age-old problem. But it was very acute this winter.
“We’re still looking for additions to our pitching staff. Takes a lot of energy to sign a star player. We are always cognizant of what we need to add to our pitching staff. We haven’t found the pitching that we really like at the prices we like. That has been a very, very expensive market this offseason. But I’m confident we’ll be able to come up with the pitching that we need to compete. We are going to have to get some performances from the pitchers that we have and then continue to add to that.”
Duquette was asked if he was surprised that the Orioles re-signed three of their six free agents
“I know that the players that are returning here enjoy playing here. You heard Chris talk about the atmosphere that Buck has created and the way the fans welcome them into the community in Baltimore. And how the players contribute to the community. All that is good and hard to find. This is a great baseball town. The fans love the players. It didn’t surprise me and we have something that we can build on here.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter talked about the Davis signing sending a positive message to the rest of the clubhouse.
“I think if you had told me at the end of the year that Darren (O’Day), Matt (Wieters) and Chris would be back here, it would not have been out of the realm,” Showalter said. “Knowing Mr. Angelos, I think for the city of Baltimore, he was going to do everything possible to try to keep going.
“These guys have been a part of winning more games the last four years than any team in the American League. He’s very proud of them and he knows the city is. I think it was important to him to make sure the city could continue to be proud of these guys. It worked out and we’re excited about it.”
Davis had a phone call and one-on-one conversation with Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos after the season. They had talked before. Davis spoke with the Orioles owner after he was suspended during the 2014 season. He said their conversation then was big in setting the stage for a deal to get done.
“Yeah, I think so,” Davis said. “For whatever reason, he had taken a liking to me the last few years, and I think as negative as the suspension was for me, it was a chance to kind of sit down and be human in front of him. That only helped our relationship. I can’t express how thankful, how grateful I am that he made this kind of commitment to not only me, but to my family. He talked a lot about the type of character I have and that means a lot to me. Because, a lot of times in this game, you are judged by who you are on the field and not necessarily who you are at home. I think Peter was able to see beyond that and really kind of dial into what kind of person I was.”
After Davis talked to the Orioles owner, Boras flew into Baltimore for a face-to-face meeting with Angelos.
“Scott came up here and it was close to end of the season. He basically said, ‘This guy wants to play here. He enjoys it here and his family likes it here.’ I think that was huge in negotiations,” Davis said.