Orioles in waiting mode regarding Davis

January 12th, 2016

BALTIMORE -- When Scott Boras was in San Francisco on Friday to help introduce free-agent acquisition Denard Span, he joked that perhaps he'd stick around to talk to the Giants about another high-profile client of his: Chris Davis.

In truth, Boras didn't stay long before he headed for the airport, taking the realm of mystery surrounding Davis' future with him. It's highly unlikely the Giants would entertain talks with Davis, and the list of potential suitors for the 29-year-old slugger -- outside of returning to Baltimore -- remains quiet. And it could remain that way for a while.

This much is known: the Orioles are still badly in need of a left-handed power bat, and Davis fits the bill. They made a very competitive offer -- particularly for a mid-market team -- in offering Davis a seven-year deal in the $154 million range. False reports leaked that the O's had upped their offer during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., perhaps an attempt by Boras to help drive his client's market, but there hasn't been much buzz since.

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The Tigers were listed as a sleeper team for Davis' services by the Boston Globe over the weekend. While Detroit has worked well with Boras in the past, it doesn't need any help at first base. Perhaps if money were no object, Detroit would take Davis for his power and figure out a position for him later.

But if the Orioles' $154 million isn't enough, it's hard to envision Detroit paying a higher price tag to commit to solely a high-strikeout, high-homer bat. While Boras is indeed pushing his client as a corner-outfield option, Davis has only made 68 career starts in the outfield and can't be thought of as a long-term everyday option there.

Even if Boras did get a team to bite on Davis as an outfielder, there's some talk of that market coming down some in the wake of Alex Gordon's deal (four years, $72 million) with Kansas City.

The Rangers -- Davis' former club and his hometown team -- supposedly aren't going to spend that kind of money. And most other teams are either set at first base or don't have the kind of finances to compete with Baltimore's offer.

Some in the Orioles' organization are OK moving forward without Davis and turning attention toward other options, though there hasn't been much movement on that front. Owner Peter Angelos is a big Davis fan and wants him back, though there's nothing to indicate he's interested in upping the offer. The ball is in Boras' court, except now time is starting to be a factor.

"That's not surprising at all, the way that camp does business," Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who has not talked to Davis recently, said of the timeline. "It wouldn't surprise me if it went to February. It wouldn't surprise me if it goes to March."

Even Davis' former teammates aren't sure where this game is headed: Does Davis want to return? Will Boras change his terms? Could the Orioles take their offer off the table and invest their money elsewhere? It's unknown if Davis would be willing to come back on a one-year deal and retest the market next offseason.

Without Davis, the O's would have a big hole in their lineup. But if they commit the reported $200 million that Davis' camp is seeking, it would have significant implications for the Orioles' payroll.

Davis, who will be 30 in March, was named the Most Valuable Oriole the past two seasons and has become a fan favorite in Baltimore. He led the league in both home runs and strikeouts last year.

Baltimore, which could still use a corner outfielder, has been linked to free agents Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes this winter, and the Orioles could use Davis' funds there and/or on a rotation upgrade.