After back-and-forth negotiations eventually led to a standstill ahead of the winter meetings, Davis and Baltimore finally reached a seven-year, $161 million pact Saturday, which became official Thursday following a medical examination.
Davis on the pressure of the contract: "I hope there is. I hope there are expectations." #Orioles— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) January 22, 2016
The Orioles initially offered Davis a seven-year, $150 million deal in December but pulled back after the first baseman sought more money, according to Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine.
Davis admitted Thursday that the ongoing negotiations left him more anxious than he’d anticipated, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com:
Chris Davis on negotiations: "It was a little more stressful at times than I thought it would be." #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) January 22, 2016
Davis and the Orioles then began seeking other options, and the first baseman had been linked to discussions with the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, who was then writing for CBS Sports.
Agent Scott Boras flew to Baltimore and met with Orioles owner Peter Angelos and general manager Dan Duquette, which proved to be the breaking point, per Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and Ghiroli:
Scott Boras' trip to Baltimore to meet w/ Angelos & Duquette regarding Davis was pivotal in moving talks fwd & ironing out deal. #orioles— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) January 22, 2016
Boras admitted flying to Baltimore at the start of the offseason wasn't a move he normally makes. But he believes it set the tone early on.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) January 22, 2016
Duquette acknowledged the urgency of re-signing the 2013 All-Star on Thursday, per Encina:
Duq: "I don't know how many places I went this year where people said, 'You've got to sign Chris Davis.'" #Orioles— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) January 22, 2016
Boras, well-known for pushing his clients to hit free agency and seek the highest dollar figures over all else, was at Davis’ press conference Thursday but wouldn’t elaborate on other offers the first baseman fielded, per Ghiroli:
Scott Boras wouldn't say if Davis had any other serious offers. Said, "You don't go to a wedding and talk about girlfriends." Good point.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) January 22, 2016
While it was a celebratory evening at Camden Yards, Nick Shlain of Baseball Prospectus made a valid point in questioning why Davis, who has been with the Orioles for five years, donned a jersey during the press conference:
It’s weird Chris Davis put on an Orioles jersey over his suit at the press conference? I know everyone does it but he was *just* on the team— Nick Shlain (@electricsnuff) January 22, 2016
Davis hopes that the clubhouse environment and established roster will help bring other top free agents to Baltimore in the coming years, per Encina:
Davis: "The fact that we have such a good group of guys & a warm, inviting clubhouse should draw players to Baltimore." #Orioles— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) January 22, 2016
While Davis led the AL in home runs in two of the past three years, his 2014 campaign saw him stumble to a .196 batting average, and the team left him off its playoff roster after MLB suspended him for testing positive for Adderall.
While Davis probably squeaked out more than he is worth, the Orioles didn’t want to leave a gaping power void in the middle of their lineup as they hope to improve on last year's .500 campaign.