I don't claim to be an expert on sports. I enjoy sportsball of all sorts, but I'm not in the front offices of any teams--unless I'm playing Madden, MLB The Show, or FIFA. However, like many Orioles fans, I'm preparing myself for that news clip on SportsCenter which announces that 1B (and sometimes outfielder, DH, and pitcher) Chris Davis has accepted a $230MM contract from some random team that isn't the Orioles.
Things, however, on that front, aren't as gloom as some'd suggest. Tidbits have come out suggesting the Orioles are willing to go up to $24MM annually. But, there are other rumors swirling that Davis is seeking a contract of, at most, $200MM over eight years (that's $25MM a year for those keeping score at home, one million more than what the Orioles are rumored to have as their breaking point).
Do I believe that "Crush" will be back in Baltimore? Yeah. Scott Boras has a rep for being a shark, but let's be real: he works for the players, not the other way around. He's just trying to get the best deal possible for men who have a short career lifespan (per a 2007 NIH study, rookies can expect to play, based on analysis of most of the 20th century in MLB, 5.6 years) and, as agents do, line his own coffers in the process. Davis receiving $24MM a year, while not exactly that $200MM/8yrs sweet spot, is still a pretty penny--and one that could, considering Davis' rapport with Baltimore, could keep him.
While we can sit here and talk about salaries being way too high versus, say, teachers and firefighters, until the cows come home, I'm not going to focus much on that. I want to, instead, ponder about the possibility of Davis going elsewhere and what it could mean for the Orioles. Because, yes, $24MM could keep him. But, it could lead him elsewhere if something more monetarily insane comes along.
Now, yes, the O's got Mark Trumbo for the low recently.
Mark Trumbo can play in the outfield, DH, and play first base--like Chris Davis. He also has some pretty legit pop in his bat--which, in a hitter-friendly stadium like OPACY, can lead to mammoth numbers. However, many pundits suggest that Mark Trumbo is less defensively inclined than Davis. He's not Adam Dunn bad, but he's not winning any Gold Gloves anytime soon. But, again, the Orioles got him for cheap. So, if Baltimore does lose Davis, they might be alright.
To a degree.
Ideally, you'd probably want, if you're Buck Showalter, to have Trumbo playing a corner outfielder position and have Crush on first. As a fan, you'd probably want the same thing. Losing Davis wouldn't completely gut the team's chances to contend next season. But, it would be a morale-dampening thing, for players and fans. For instance, Adam Jones has been quite vocal about the Orioles needing to maintain, at the very least, Davis, Wieters (they have), O'Day (they have), and Wei-Yin Chen (who, oddly enough, people aren't panicking as much about as they are with Davis). Should we lose Chen and Davis, could that spell some discontent coming from Jones.
I don't know. I don't claim to be a FO expert or a player psychologist. However, the Orioles need Chris Davis (even if they'd be alright without him). We've just got to wait and see if $24MM/7yrs is enough to make Davis need the Orioles. The Orioles also need pitchers, but...that's another story entirely.