Chris Davis Rumors
It's been a busy day for Orioles news, as so far we've heard that the O's are one of three finalists for Bronson Arroyo, Baltimore signed Jack Cust and Evan Meek to minor league contracts, Grantland's Jonah Keri explored the team's recent spending history and its MASN TV contract, and MLBTR's Steve Adams wrapped up even a few more O's items as part of an East Notes post. Heck, why stop now? Here are more Orioles tidbits plus more news from around the AL East...
- Freddie Freeman's eight-year, $135MM extension with the Braves could very well change the parameters for the Orioles' possible extension with Chris Davis, observes MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. "If Davis comes close to duplicating his 2013 season, [agent Scott] Boras will view Freeman's salary as chump change," Kubatko writes. The Braves' deal with Freeman, 24, covered his three remaining arbitration-eligible years and his first five free agent years, while the 28-year-old Davis has just one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before hitting free agency following the 2015 season.
- Also from Kubatko, he questions if the Orioles would make a multiyear offer to Suk-min Yoon given his shoulder history and how the O's were recently burned by Tsuyoshi Wada's injury history. With Yoon looking for a two-year commitment and the Rangers, Giants, Cubs and Twins all showing, a one-year offer might not be enough to get it done for the Orioles.
- The Rays have been talking to the Nationals about a Jose Lobaton trade for at least a month, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports, though the two sides can't settle on what the Rays would get back in return. Though the Nats are one of several teams interested in Lobaton, Tampa Bay is in no hurry to deal the catcher and could wait until Spring Training begins to move him.
- The Yankees' struggles to draft and develop quality minor league talent in recent years is chronicled by ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand.
- Over at Roto Authority, MLBTR's fantasy baseball-focused sister site, I looked at which of the Orioles' Manny Machado or the Blue Jays' Brett Lawrie is the better bet for fantasy success in 2014.
Orioles baseball operations chief Dan Duquette acknowledges that the pressure is on to add a free agent with Spring Training on the horizon, according to Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun, but warns that the club aims to build from within. "If people have the expectation that we're going to sign a lot of high-profile free agents and that's going to be the answer, that is not who the Orioles are about," Duquette cautioned. Schmuck feels, however, that the O's are likely to sign "at least one" of the remaining veteran free-agent starters. Here's more Orioles notes, as the club wraps up its FanFest:
- Chris Davis appeared to be excited by Duquette's disclosure earlier today that the club had offered him an extension. "Really? Did he say anything else? ... Keep me up to speed on that," the slugger said while speaking with Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com and other reporters. Davis, who will earn $10.35MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility, figures to be expensive to lock up long-term.
- While Duquette wants to bring more pitching into the fold, skipper Buck Showalter doesn't think it's essential, reports Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. “I don’t think it has to happen," the manager said. "Just because somebody has played X number of years doesn’t make him a good presence."
- Manny Machado says he may have to relearn now to run as he recovers from reconstructive knee surgery, according to a Kubatko report. "I've run my entire life how I did last year and I've had two injuries in the past three years," Machado said. "That's definitely not right." The infielder underwent testing yesterday to analyze his running technique.
- Charlie Wilmoth rounded up more Orioles links in a post this afternoon.
Here are a few notes from Orioles FanFest this morning.
- Before the start of the season, the O's will try to engage shortstop J.J. Hardy in extension discussions, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. Hardy is in the final year of a three-year, $22.25MM deal.
- The Orioles have tried to extend Chris Davis, but with no success so far, Kubatko tweets. Davis is due to become a free agent after the 2015 season. He will make $10.35MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility after a monster .286/.370/.634 season in 2013.
- Orioles executive Dan Duquette says the O's have not tried to deal catcher Matt Wieters this offseason, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Like Davis, Wieters is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season.
The Orioles have agreed to a one-year, $10.35MM contract with Chris Davis in order to avoid arbitration, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. His deal also contains performance bonuses (Twitter links). Davis is represented by Scott Boras.
Davis had been projected to earn an even $10MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz after he took a massive step forward in 2013. He lands just above that mark with his new deal. As Swartz explained in his breakdown of the Davis arbitration case, the slugging first baseman looked primed to break the record for a second-year arbitration raise, and he did just that by garnering a bump of over $7MM.
It is not hard to see how Davis managed to command such a massive increase. As Swartz explained, arbitration raise are generally determined by reference only to platform-year stats, and Davis had quite the platform year. His massive home run (53) and RBI (138) totals and strong .286 batting average, combined with ample playing time, positioned him perfectly.
Davis has one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining before becoming eligible for free agency before the 2016 season.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette spoke with reporters today about the latest in Birdland. As reported by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, Duquette said that the club is planning to tender contracts to each of the nine Orioles players that are eligible for arbitration.
Here is the slate of players who stand to receive a tender, along with the salaries projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz: catcher Matt Wieters ($7.9MM); first baseman Chris Davis ($10MM); outfielders Nolan Reimold ($1.2MM) and Steve Pearce ($1.1MM); relievers Troy Patton ($1.2MM), Brian Matusz ($2.1MM), Tommy Hunter ($3.1MM), and Jim Johnson ($10.8MM); and starter Bud Norris ($5MM). In total, Swartz projects a $42.4MM tab for the group.
As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explored in reporting Swartz's projections, Reimold in particular had been a questionable tender recipient. As MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko notes on Twitter, the decision on Reimold was made after receiving positive updates on his health status as he rehabs from another neck surgery. "He's coming along pretty well," Duquette relayed. "He's ahead of where he was at the same time in 2012." As Connolly explained, the O's feel that he has been good when healthy and expect him to be ready for the spring. Per the analysis of Dierkes and Kubatko (via Twitter), Johnson, Patton, and Pearce all were also possible non-tender candidates.
The two least surprising members of the list of Orioles set to be tendered -- Wieters and Davis -- are also, of course, the two major Baltimore extension candidates. Duquette said that the club is focused on making additions to the club at present, and has yet to enage agent Scott Boras (who represents both players) in off-season contract talks.
Curtis Granderson is "a serious part" of the Yankees' offseason plans, GM Brian Cashman told George A. King III of the New York Post. Cashman told King that the Yankees remain interested and don't consider Granderson to be a fallback option by any means. Signing Granderson would likely mean the team would look to move Ichiro Suzuki, King adds. Here's more on the American League East.
- The Red Sox and David Ortiz made an agreement at the time of his last signing that the two sides wouldn't negotiate an extension until the completion of his current deal, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets that the Red Sox consider Dioner Navarro to be a fallback option if the free agent market doesn't break their way, but not a primary target.
- The Yankees are a good fit for Omar Infante, opines MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (Twitter link). Tim wonders if the Yankees, who reportedly don't want to wait for Robinson Cano before pursuing other free agents, should just strike quickly and snatch Infante up.
- Matt Wieters and Chris Davis of the Orioles are both Scott Boras clients, and they're both two years away from free agency. That means the Orioles need to determine what they plan to do with each player, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski writes. What to do with Davis might be particularly tricky, since his 2013 season was so dramatically different from his past performances.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Over the next few months, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I will rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong.
Chris Davis had a fantastic 2013 campaign, which will earn him a large raise on his $3.3MM salary. As a hitter reaching arbitration for the second time, the primary determinants of Davis’ 2014 salary will be his 2013 statistics, which will be used as a basis to determine his raise. Unlike first-year arbitration eligible players whose entire history is generally discussed, players who reach arbitration eligibility in subsequent years have their raises determined by their platform year statistics, and their previous salary serves as the only relevant summary of their historical performance.
This benefits Davis immensely, who had a career year in 2013. He led the American League in home runs (53) and runs batted in (138), while putting up a solid average of .286. Playing time is very important to arbitration panels too, which also will be an argument in favor of a big raise for Davis. He played in 160 games, coming to the plate 673 times last year.
Few other sluggers have matched this performance going into their second years of arbitration eligibility. In the last seven years, the largest raise went to Jacoby Ellsbury, who got a $5.65MM raise from $2.4MM to $8.05MM in 2012, after hitting .321 with 32 home runs and 105 runs batted in, while swiping 39 bags. Ellsbury also helped his case with 729 plate appearances that year.
In most other cases where an elite slugger reached arbitration eligibility for the second time, clubs have elected to sign multi-year deals. While we are able to use multi-year deals with adjustments to fill in the some of the gaps this leaves in our analysis, it makes it difficult to find precisely comparable players for teams and agents to use in negotiations. In some of these cases, we can look at the first year salary in the multi-year deal, but take it with a grain of salt. In some of these cases though, a more valuable piece of evidence is what the salary figures were when the player and team exchange numbers in advance of a potential hearing.
For instance, Ryan Howard is a decent comparable for Davis. Howard signed a three-year deal going into his second year of arbitration eligibility in 2009. He was coming off a $10MM salary, and hit .251 (much worse than Davis’ .286) but his 48 home runs and 146 RBI are the only thing remotely similar in recent memory (among second-year arbitration eligible players) to Davis’ 53 home runs and 138 RBI. Howard got a $5MM raise his second year as part of that deal, but this came after exchanging numbers with the Phillies. He had requested an $8MM raise and the Phillies proposed just a $4MM. Given that Davis had a much better average and five more home runs, plus the fact that Howard’s raise is five years old, Davis should easily clear $4MM.
Matt Holliday’s raise of $5.1MM in 2008 (including his pro-rated signing bonus) as part of a multi-year deal is also relatively comparable. While he only hit 36 home runs, he hit .340 and knocked in 137 runs, while stealing 11 bags. Again, the fact that six years has passed since this deal, plus the fact that it was a multi-year deal, suggest that this will not be a great comparison. However, given the similarity of Holliday’s and Howard’s effective raises, it stands to reason that adding a few years of inflation should get Davis a solid gain beyond this amount, especially since he hit more home runs (which is the most important stat in arbitration outside of playing time).
Somewhat more recently, Josh Hamilton hit .359 with 32 home runs and 100 runs batted in going into 2011, which earned him a $5.5MM raise as part of a multi-year deal. He had been offered a $5.45MM raise already and had countered with a request for a $8.75MM raise, even larger than Howard’s $8MM request two years earlier.
Putting all these together, it is pretty clear that Davis is in his own territory and seems very likely to break Ellsbury’s record Arb-2 raise of $5.65MM. The model actually predicts that Davis would get $10.8MM, but given the new limits of “The Kimbrel Rule,” we are only letting him break Ellsbury’s record by $1MM, giving him a $6.65MM raise to $9.95MM.
It's been an incredible season for Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who has belted a Major League leading 52 homers as of Thursday. Davis is hitting .285/.368/.631, and he leads the league in total bases while sharing the MLB RBI lead with Miguel Cabrera as well. Under team control through 2015 via arbitration, Davis told Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com that he's open to staying in Baltimore longer:
"This has been like a second home for me. This has been a place where I've really felt like I've been accepted, been loved and really appreciated. That's rare in this game to find a place where you can call it home. That's between obviously my agent and the front office, but I'd love to stay in Baltimore."
Here's more on the O's and Nats...
- Jonathan Schoop could be the second baseman of the future for the Orioles, but Melewski isn't banking on him being the O's answer to open the 2014 season. Melewski opines that Schoop probably needs a bit more minor league seasoning and speculates that such thinking could push the Orioles to pursue a one-year deal with free-agent-to-be Brian Roberts.
- Dan Haren has never had as much self-doubt as he had early in the season, the right-hander told Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. Haren said his first few months with the Nationals were embarrassing, and he struggled mentally and emotionally. Haren candidly admitted that the toll of being in a new city with no family around and few friends worsened those feelings, as he spent a great deal of time alone and thinking about his struggles. Haren has rebounded with a 3.57 ERA over his past 14 starts but knows that he won't have as much say about where he pitches in 2014 as he did when he chose the Nats last year. He did mention his affinity for the West Coast to Kolko.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson tackles a host of Nationals-related topics in his latest Inbox column. Ladson feels left-handed relief and an improved bench will need to be areas of focus this offseason and believes that Adam LaRoche will be with the team on Opening Day in 2014 despite some speculation that he could be traded.
- Echoing Ladson's point, Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider says that "club officials have given zero indication" to moving LaRoche. Zuckerman speaks to the first baseman himself and Nats manager Davey Johnson about LaRoche's tough season.
- James Wagner of the Washington Post looks at the what-ifs of the Nationals season and wonders how things would have been different had they re-signed Tom Gorzelanny and gotten production from Haren from day one, among many other scenarios.
As the baseball world gathers at Citi Field for the All-Star break, the Orioles are looking to bring the Midsummer Classic back to Baltimore in 2016, Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun reports. It would be the first time the O's have hosted the All-Star Game since 1993, and a 2016 hosting date would also mark the team's 25th season at Camden Yards.
Here's the latest from Charm City...
- Scott Boras told reporters (including Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun) that he hasn't had any conversations with Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette about contract extensions for Chris Davis or Matt Wieters. “Dan and I talk all the time, but it’s the kind of thing where the focus is on the play and not really their contracts now," Boras said. Both players have two years of arbitration eligibility remaining before they're eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. There was talk of a Wieters extension last offseason but the team now believes Wieters will test the open market in 2015. Davis is sure to receive a huge arbitration raise on his current $3.3MM salary, and it will be very interesting to see how any extension talks develop given Boras' involvement and Davis' sudden emergence as an elite slugger.
- The Orioles have been quiet on the international signing front since July 2, but Dan Duquette tells MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski that the team is actively working to identify and access international talent. "We're working all the markets. Teams have different strategies to acquire talent. Our strategy is to sign good players and look for value in the market and that is what our scouts are doing," Duquette said. "We are active on the international markets. We will be out executing our international recruiting strategy for the whole [2013-14] season." You can check out all of MLBTR's coverage of the 2013-14 international signing period here.
Andrew Miller will require surgery to repair ligament damage in his left foot and will miss the rest of the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters (including Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com) today. Miller had pitched well out of the Boston bullpen this season, posting a 2.64 ERA, 2.82 K/BB ratio and a whopping 14.1 K/9 in 30 2/3 relief innings, though control continued to be an issue for the southpaw as he issued 17 walks. With Miller out, the Red Sox could well look into some of the left-handed relief options available on the trade market.
Here's some more news from around the AL East...
- Also from McAdam, Red Sox owner John Henry said that the team had room to add payroll at the trade deadline, if necessary. "I can't see it being an issue," Henry said. "I suppose there might be some (larger) salaries that we couldn't take on, but it just doesn't come up as an issue." The blockbuster trade with the Dodgers last summer helped the Red Sox avoid any potential payroll tax issues and left the team with financial room to maneuver this year, Henry explained.
- Jacoby Ellsbury figures to be one of the top free agents of the 2013-14 offseason and agent Scott Boras will no doubt keep his client in the headlines this winter, but Ellsbury tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he and his agent haven't discussed the future as Boras has let Ellsbury just focus on baseball. Bradford also talked to notable Boras clients Michael Bourn and Stephen Drew about their own forays into free agency and how Boras dealt with their situations.
- The Orioles have avoided "the mega-contract business" since the Albert Belle signing, though CBS Sports' Jon Heyman wonders what the team will do to lock up Chris Davis and Manny Machado. Davis will go through the arbitration process for the second time this winter and is controlled through 2015 while Machado is controlled through 2018 and is still two years away from arb-eligibility. Davis, for his part, hasn't heard of any extension talks between the team and his agent, Scott Boras. While the O's have generally avoided big signings, I'd argue that the Adam Jones extension shows that the team won't hesitate to extend its key building blocks. A multiyear deal for Davis wouldn't be a surprise this winter, though the O's can probably wait for a year or two to explore an extension for Machado.
- A scouting director tells Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that his team considered Phil Bickford to be the top high school pitcher available in this year's amateur draft but the right-hander carried signability issues. "The family wouldn’t meet with us until 48 hours before the draft and they wanted $3MM," the scouting director said. The Blue Jays took Bickford with the 10th overall pick, a position that carries an assigned value of a little over $2.921MM, and since the team has saved a lot of bonus pool money, the Jays could afford to meet Bickford's $3MM asking price.
- We covered some Yankees items as part of a New York Notes post earlier today on MLBTR.