With Chris Davis Deal, Scott Boras Strikes Again

This morning, after a long and protracted negotiation that finally resulted in the team threatening to pursue alternative free agents, the Orioles reportedly agreed to re-sign their slugging first baseman Chris Davis. The price? $161 million over seven years, giving Davis the same annual average value as Jason Heyward, the winter’s best available position player. And Davis was able to land this contract despite the fact this contract is probably going to be a disaster and that the market for hitters has been quite frigid this winter.

Given the limited suitors looking for a first baseman, the remaining crop of quality outfielders, and the risks surrounding Davis’ skillset, this might be Scott Boras’ most impressive victory over reason yet. As an agent, he has perfected the ability to go around the baseball operations department, dealing directly with owners who simply don’t have the same level of knowledge as the people they employ to run their team on a daily basis. Except in this case, even Peter Angelos had to know he was bidding against himself.

Let’s look at the other teams that were weak at first base. The Phillies, Rockies, and Brewers are rebuilding, and aren’t in the market for high-end free agents. The Marlins spent their money on pitching instead. The Rays don’t swim in these waters. The Angels are resisting going over the luxury tax, and outfield would be a need before first base even if they did. The Astros are keeping the spot open for A.J. Reed. The Twins don’t have money to spend. The Blue Jays spent their money on pitching. The Rangers want a right-handed hitter and aren’t looking to spend big.

Outside of Baltimore, there was just no market for Chris Davis this winter. Boras’ attempts to sell him as an outfielder to expand his market even fell flat, as the market for outfielders is remarkably frigid as well. Sure, maybe Chris Davis could play left for a year or two, but if a team wanted a slugging outfielder, they could just sign Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes and not have to worry about the risk of the position switch. So, realistically, Boras’ opportunity here was to get Peter Angelos to bid against himself, ignoring the fact that no other team was a realistic threat to sign Davis away from them. And he somehow managed to get the Orioles owner to do exactly that.

In a position where the team had all the leverage in the world, Boras still managed to extract a premium price for a non-premium player. This is why he’s the best in the world at what he does. And unfortunately for the Orioles, they’re going to pay the long-term price for dealing with baseball’s best salesman.

Based on the $8 million per win estimate, here’s what the Orioles are paying Davis to do over the next seven years.

Chris Davis’ Contract Estimate — 7 yr / $162.1 M
Year Age WAR $/WAR Est. Contract
2016 30 4.1 $8.0 M $32.8 M
2017 31 3.6 $8.4 M $30.2 M
2018 32 3.1 $8.8 M $27.3 M
2019 33 2.6 $9.3 M $24.1 M
2020 34 2.1 $9.7 M $20.4 M
2021 35 1.6 $10.0 M $15.9 M
2022 36 1.1 $10.2 M $11.2 M
Totals 18.2 $162.1 M

Assumptions

Value: $8M/WAR with 5.0% inflation
Aging Curve: +0.25 WAR/yr (18-27), 0 WAR/yr (28-30),-0.5 WAR/yr (31-37),-0.75 WAR/yr (> 37)

To get to this price, Davis needs to be a true talent +4 WAR player right now, and he needs to age decently. Steamer sees him as a +2.4 WAR player right now, a projection that would suggest Davis is worth $61 million over the next seven years, not $161 million. ZIPS is more optimistic, putting him at +3.8 WAR for 2016, but the contract estimation tool still spits out only $142 million over seven years even at that higher forecast. Combining ZIPS and Steamer, Davis projects as a +3.1 WAR player for 2016, and would be worth $98 million over seven years.

Of course, the counter-argument with these guys is always that WAR underrates sluggers; teams have been overpaying for home runs forever under this premise. It’s the kind of notion that got Josh Hamilton $125 million, and Prince Fielder $216 million, and Ryan Howard a $125 million extension two years away from free agency. The Orioles are betting that Davis isn’t just the next in a long line of failed free agent sluggers who got overpaid for their ability to hit dingers in their 20s, and follows an arc more like Jim Thome, who put up +29 WAR over his age 30-36 seasons. But you know why we have to go back to Jim Thome? Because there aren’t any recent examples of high-strikeout first baseman producing significant value after they turn 30.

Over the last decade, nine first baseman have produced at least +10 WAR during their age 30-36 seasons; all nine of them have struck out at rates no worse than league average during that time. The most productive high-strikeout slugging first baseman on the wrong side of 30 since 2006? Carlos Pena, who put up a 113 wRC+ and +10 WAR over the final seven years of his career. There’s also Mike Napoli (117 wRC+, +9 WAR), Russell Branyan (117 wRC+, +8 WAR), and Adam Dunn (108 wRC+, +3 WAR) before you get into the total disasters of guys like Howard and Richie Sexson.

The swing-hard-and-hit-the-crap-out-of-the-ball skillset has not aged well historically, and has aged even worse lately. Davis already showed the downside of what can happen when his power waned in 2014; a 25-35 home run version of Chris Davis isn’t a very good player, given his contact limitations. Unfortunately for the Orioles, they’re probably going to see a lot more of that kind of player than the 2013/2015 versions of Davis.

If the Orioles were in a position to take advantage of a short-term boost, you could maybe justify overpaying to push the team over the hump into the postseason. But after losing Wei-Yin Chen, and without having made any real moves to upgrade a pretty terrible corner outfield situation, the Orioles look like the worst team in the American League East headed into 2016. Most likely, even if Davis does manage to hit well next year, it still won’t be enough to push them into the postseason race.

At this point, now that they’ve set themselves up with a long-term albatross, stopping the spending after this is the worst thing the team could do. They still need two outfielders and a starting pitcher, and you don’t sign a 30 year old slugger to a seven year deal right before you begin a rebuilding project. If this deal is going to work for Baltimore, it’s going to have to pay dividends in the next two or three seasons, and right now, this roster doesn’t look quite good enough to take advantage of the the next few years before Davis’ skills completely atrophy.

The end of this deal is almost certainly going to be a disaster for the Orioles. The big question is whether the “end of the deal” represents the last three years of the deal, or the last six years of the deal if Davis struggles in 2016. For their sake, they better hope that this high-strikeout slugger figures out how to retain his skills better than all the others who came before him.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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output gap
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output gap
4 months 11 days ago

Scott Boras > game theory

The Hammerer
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The Hammerer
4 months 10 days ago

It was actually a win for both sides. The essence of a good negotiation. Boras gets to cite the higher dollar amount when the actual value is less than original offer .

Jason B
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Jason B
4 months 8 days ago

$161MM is less than the $150MM the Orioles first reportedly offered?

Brians Sticky Sock
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Brians Sticky Sock
4 months 8 days ago

smh… deferred payments…

Richie
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Richie
4 months 11 days ago

All professional hustlers know the quickest way to a mark’s wallet is his ego. Baseball owners have BIG BIG egos.

Richie
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Richie
4 months 11 days ago

Oh, and from the hypothetical standpoint of a long-term Orioles fan, yes stopping the spending at this standpoint is still the best thing they could do. Throwing additional money into this pot still won’t move the 16′-17′ needle much, and will make the following crash that much darker, deeper and dangerous.

bc231
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bc231
4 months 11 days ago

And it’s even more expensive, because they have up a draft pick!

Bip
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Bip
4 months 9 days ago

This comment was somewhat unfairly downvoted, since, from the perspective of opportunity cost, they do give up a pick: that is, the pick the would have gained had they not signed Davis, which is literally the only other option besides signing Davis.

bc231
Member
bc231
4 months 9 days ago

Exactly my point. A team effectively gains a draft pick when the moment a QO is rejected. From that point on, any team that signs the free agent will have one fewer pick than if they did not sign them.

Now, the lost pick is not a first round pick, but a sandwich round pick, which is less valuable of course.

Interestingly, this means that have a protected first round pick have a slight advantage at signing a free agent, even compared to a team trying to retain their own free agent.

Tom Cranker
Member
Tom Cranker
4 months 11 days ago

Huh. I thought they had just made that token offer to Cespedes that they knew he wouldn’t jump at and then leaked it to the press to get Davis to back down and take their original $150m offer (which would have been a questionably large contract for Davis anyway). Then it turns out they went and raised their offer to Davis.

Very confused by the Orioles’ behavior, but good for Boras and Davis.

tz
Member
tz
4 months 11 days ago

It wouldn’t surprise me if it went down like this:

1. Boras tells Angelos that 8/200 with a full no-trade and an opt-out gets the deal done.

2. Angelos craps his pants, cools off, then publicly puts out the 7/150 offer to make Davis look like a greedy SOB if he turns down that much.

3. Boras hears the Cespedes leak and tells Angelos yesterday, “All right Pete, you got me. 7/161, we’ll have the updated contract on your desk by 5pm, if you agree by 5pm it’s a deal, if you don’t then we’ll both move on.”

4. Angelos blinks.

Jeff Luhnow
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Jeff Luhnow
4 months 11 days ago

I never blink.

dl80
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dl80
4 months 11 days ago

Dave Cameron: me neither. (Just kidding Dave!)

Sai
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Sai
4 months 11 days ago

In the wise words of DJ Khaled, the O’s just played themselves.

Rick Lancellotti
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Rick Lancellotti
4 months 11 days ago

there was also that jeru joint from ’96 called that

Radermecher
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Radermecher
4 months 11 days ago

Bingo Sai,this is Ryan Howard act 2.

Deelron
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Deelron
4 months 11 days ago

Except didn’t Howard have two years of control left when that deal was done?

Ivan_Grushenko
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Ivan_Grushenko
4 months 11 days ago

Not that I disagree with the main point in this article, but the Cardinals did show some interest in Davis supposedly. I doubt they came anywhere close to this number but still. The even weirder thing is that the Orioles weren’t interested in Upton or Cespedes for $40 million less than what they’re paying Davis.

domxbomb
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domxbomb
4 months 11 days ago

Watching Davis’ opposite field fly balls carry with such ease is one of the more aesthetically pleasing things in baseball IMO. I wish the best of luck to him. Anyone remember that cool story about him lifting a person or a car at the scene of an accident shortly after his suspension?

It looks like no other teams buy into Boras’ assertion that he’s an outfielder. This is a terrible contract for Baltimore as the deal itself makes it seem unlikely they’ll spend further to surround him with more talent for the next couple years in which he might be good.

Baron Samedi
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Baron Samedi
4 months 11 days ago

Did he lift a person or a car? One is significantly more impressive than the other.

formerly matt w
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formerly matt w
4 months 11 days ago
Baron Samedi
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Baron Samedi
4 months 11 days ago

Ctrl+F “Machado Extension”

0 of 0

Brent Henry
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Brent Henry
4 months 11 days ago

These are closed door negotiations and we’re on the outside. A lot goes into this. This is what it took to keep Davis.

Bip
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Bip
4 months 11 days ago

I think we tend to less concerned with what it took and more with whether it was a good investment. Say a fair contract for Davis is 5/105. That may not get Davis, at which point the correct decision might be to not get Davis.

Tom Dooley
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Tom Dooley
4 months 11 days ago

I too am persuaded by platitudes.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
4 months 11 days ago

I’m surprised. I didn’t think Peter Angelos was the type to bend like this.

Arjon
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Arjon
4 months 11 days ago

He had already bent way over to get to $150M, so the additional $11M was only him bending slightly more.

buckner_for_hall
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buckner_for_hall
4 months 11 days ago

that contract will kill the Orioles
they should have taken the pick

Nathaniel Dawson
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Nathaniel Dawson
4 months 11 days ago

If you assmume there is some salary inflation this off-season, this doesn’t look quite as bad as Dave portrays. Starting at 8.4 mil and assuming 5% salary inflation per year, Davis would only have to produce 16.6 WAR over the term of the contract to have earned his salary. There’s the draft pick to consider as well, so maybe that should be more like 17 WAR.

That might still be a tall order, but not as unlikely to reach as 18.2 WAR. And if it’s true that home runs bring fans into the stadium, he may actually end up worth his contract even if he doesn’t reach 17 WAR.

Richie
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Richie
4 months 11 days ago

Data’s pretty unambiguous that only winning brings (extra) fans into the stadium. So bad contracts actually hurt revenue where and when they hamstring teams.

Nathaniel Dawson
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Nathaniel Dawson
4 months 11 days ago

“Data’s pretty unambiguous that only winning brings (extra) fans into the stadium.”

Where’d you get that from? I’ve never seen anything that suggests that’s true.

Ebenezer
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Ebenezer
4 months 10 days ago

I think Dave might say really good beer helps bring fans into the stadium. Good food helps as well. And a Jumbotron with fun featurettes and games. Although those aren’t long-term substitutes for a competitive team.

whateverfor
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whateverfor
4 months 11 days ago

I agree this is an overpay, but two points:

First, this contract has no opt-out. Comparing the AAV straight up to a contract with an early opt-out is going to make it look like a worse deal than it is.

Second, measuring the 30-36 over the course of a decade is too small a span, if the 30 and 36 have to both be inside the 10 year window. There just aren’t that many players who will line up that whole span of years inside the tight window. That sample contains a whopping 7 players with 800 games played (a full FIVE seasons out of seven). If you open up with window to 20 years (1996-2015) you get 21 players with 800 games and Klesko sitting at 799. Then you get twenty-six 10 WAR players and eleven 18 WAR players.

HarryLives
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HarryLives
4 months 11 days ago

You also include a decades worth of a completely different offensive environment, when aging sluggers performed much better due to a number of circumstances, not the least of which was widespread use of PEDs. Still, the only guys posting significantly higher than league-average K rates on that expanded list of 10+ WAR players are McGwire, Thome, Giambi, Delgado, and Derek Lee, and at least a couple of them probably managed to stay productive into their 30s with the aid of substances Chris Davis won’t have the advantage of putting in his body.

pedeysRSox
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pedeysRSox
4 months 11 days ago

Only giambi and mcguire have either admitted to using steroids or been implicated in a steroid scandal.

HarryLives
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HarryLives
4 months 11 days ago

That’s why I said “at least a couple”. Also, none of those guys except McGwire had a K-rate over 20%, though their K rates were higher than league-average at the time.

jdbolick
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Member
4 months 11 days ago

First, this contract has no opt-out.

But it does have a no-trade clause, which has considerable value to the player and potentially prevents the team from dumping as much as they can get out of should the contract go badly.

Richie
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Richie
4 months 11 days ago

Wow. That is another perk. Davis is now untradeable without throwing yet more money his way. Well, unless Davis/Boras would waive it for free ARFARFARFARFARF!

equist
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equist
4 months 11 days ago

When I think of Chris Davis I think of Brian Downing (being an Angel’s fan). Downing was a converted catcher who played left field, s motto was “Swing hard in case you hit something” which he was fond of saying. Dings WAR from age 30 to35 was:

Age WAR
30 1.3
31 5.4 (best year for WAR)
32 1.4
33 3.3
34 2.6
35 3.9
36 3.9
Total 21.80

Not a perfect comp, but Davis could probably lay outfield defense similar to Downing, though Downing was a tremendous student of the game. But their hitting philosophies seem similar.

Interestingly, Downing went on to play five more years, racking up another 10.90 points in WAR.

tz
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tz
4 months 11 days ago

I think of Davis as either (a) what Russell Branyan could have been (minus the injuries) or (b) what Joey Gallo could be.

david k
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david k
4 months 9 days ago

Downing was NOTHING like Chris Davis. Downing was basically a 20HR guy who struck out about 10% of the time and had a walk rate nearly equal to his strikeout rate. He was a very high OBP guy, and a very consistent hitter, who I always felt was underrated.

Richie
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Richie
4 months 11 days ago

These comments in general have gotten away from the biggest, basicest (so to speak) reason this was a bad overpay.

All evidence screams that Angelos blew the second biggest offer sky high out of the water. Remember that a few years from now when the Orioles decide they can no longer afford Machado.

jdbolick
Member
Member
4 months 11 days ago

The Orioles will sign Machado no matter what, so that isn’t the issue. The problem is what domxbomb articulated above, that this investment likely precludes any significant free agent additions over the life of this contract. Showalter will have to make do with whatever bargains Duquette can find along with whatever the farm system can produce (*gulp*).

G_Funk_J
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G_Funk_J
4 months 11 days ago

Nobody knows what Angelos is thinking, people tend to think of him as irrational (true) and cheap, but if you remember The Orioles had among the highest payrolls in baseball begging shortly after Angelos bought the team until the disaster that was the 1998 season. The man is in his late 80’s, maybe he intends to go all in ala Mike Ilitch before he kicks the bucket.

HotSpinachDip
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HotSpinachDip
4 months 11 days ago

Of all players to ever post a 30%+ career k%, here are the best ever in their 30+ age years…

#1. Rob Deer (2.2 WAR/yr for 3 years)

#2. Russell Branyan (2.0 WAR/yr for 4 years)

#3. Jack Cust (1.2 WAR/yr for 2 years)

#4. Adam Dunn (0.5 WAR/yr for 5 years)

Have fun with that.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
4 months 11 days ago

Considering the way the general trend is moving, I’d say we’re likely to see 30% K guys produce more value than they ever have. Partially because offensive standards have gone down, and partially because there is more selection for those types of players, if their other skills make up for it.

HotSpinachDip
Member
HotSpinachDip
4 months 11 days ago

Definitely. The sample is a bit biased. But if you drop the floor to career-k% > 25%, the best career WARs are as follows:

Mike Napoli, Adam Dunn, Giancarlo Stanton, BJ Upton, Ryan Howard, Carlos Pena, Colby Rasmus, Chris Davis, Rob Deer, David Ross.

That’s a difficult group to invest $161M in… especially when buying years 30-36.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
4 months 10 days ago

I mean, it’s still a biased sample. If you did the same thing with his ISO, you’d get very different results.

HotSpinachDip
Member
HotSpinachDip
4 months 10 days ago

@Bip – Not sure what you mean by that. The article (and my player comps) are lending evidence to the notion that high-k sluggers do not age well. So, yes – using ISO would lead to different results… Because it’s presenting a very different argument.

Paul22
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Paul22
4 months 10 days ago

Did you adjust for era? Because K rates are like 20% higher than they were 10 years ago, 30% higher than what they were 15 years ago and 50% higher than they were 30 years and 60% higher than 40 years ago.

A 30% K guy is like a 25% guy in 2005, 20% guy in 1985, and 18% in 1975

HotSpinachDip
Member
HotSpinachDip
4 months 10 days ago

No, I didn’t adjust for era. But think about it this way… In 2015, the median k% was about 18%. Chris Davis led the league at 31%, which was about 2.5 standard deviations above average. It doesn’t matter what era you’re looking at – Chris Davis represents the outer extreme of the bell curve.

HowBoutDemOs
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HowBoutDemOs
4 months 10 days ago

Well ok, but not a single player on that list ever had a season as good as Davis before turning 30. In fact, none of them had ever had a season as good as Davis’s second best season. Dunn came close, but nobody else did. Deer once came barely within 2. So it’s really not a very good comparison, mosly because Davis is a far better defender and runner than any of those guys.

HotSpinachDip
Member
HotSpinachDip
4 months 10 days ago

Well, I didn’t mean it so much as a “comparison” – rather, as an indication that there exists a complete lack of precedent for 30+ aged players with extreme k-rates living up to a contract that is even 1/3 of what Davis just got paid. Showing the absence of a precedent is easy – the hard part is demonstrating that Chris Davis will be the exception to this.

Your argument is that Davis is already a better player than anybody on my list. That’s undeniable. But it doesn’t really mean that he is impervious to the age-related decline that seems to so strongly affect high-k sluggers.

To make the obvious comparison…

At age 29, Chris Davis’s 3-year average wOBA is .373 and K% is 31.1%. This includes his best 2 seasons.

Similarly, at age 29, Ryan Howard was a .393 wOBA hitter with a k% of 26.5%.

As we know, Howard has put up a .313 wOBA and 1.2 total WAR in his age 30-35 seasons.

So, here’s the real challenge… Let’s find the players that spent their pre-30 aged seasons in the bottom 1% in K% and accrued $100M+ in value during years 30-35. Then, let’s explain why CD is $161M exception.

Hank G.
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Hank G.
4 months 11 days ago

How soon does Davis join the worst contract list?

The Dude of NY
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The Dude of NY
4 months 11 days ago

The second the deal is announced?

Rick Lancellotti
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Rick Lancellotti
4 months 11 days ago

“Make Baltimore Great Again”

walt526
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walt526
4 months 11 days ago

According to Olney, the contract is actually $119M/7yr plus $42M in interest-free deferrals in 2023 though 2037, the NPV of which are about $18.6M.

It’s a terrible contract given Davis’ likelihood for rapid decline. But it’s slightly more palatable given those interest free deferrals.

keefer
Member
keefer
4 months 11 days ago

Granted, even for this Orioles fan (or maybe especially) it’s surprising that the team went this high to re-sign Davis. I’ve bashed Angelos as much as anyone over the past 20 years, but maybe it’s time to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s finally paying up for a quality free agent, something O’s fans have been demanding for many years.

More to the point, with all the deferred money in the contract, the present day value is significantly less than $161 M. Plus, even a half-decent year by Davis standards would be 3.5-4 WAR, and I’m willing to bet he’ll have at least a half-decent year in 2016. Plug those new data into Cameron’s analysis and the deal makes a lot more sense.

Only time will tell. Davis’s value could fall off a cliff in 2-3 years, like some of the other players he’s being compared to. Or, being a better athlete than many of those others, he could age more gracefully. At least it’ll be interesting to watch.

HarryLives
Member
HarryLives
4 months 11 days ago

The present value of the Davis contract is about the same as a 7 year, $140-$150 million dollar (depending on the discount rate assumed) typical back-loaded contract. It’s still a lot of money to give a one-dimensional, strikeout-prone slugger as he heads into his 30s, but I guess it’s not quite as bad as it appeared at first.

MonkeyMan
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Member
MonkeyMan
4 months 11 days ago

Who is this “quality free agent” of which you speak?

jdbolick
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Member
4 months 10 days ago

I’ve bashed Angelos as much as anyone over the past 20 years, but maybe it’s time to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s finally paying up for a quality free agent, something O’s fans have been demanding for many years.

I guess, but we’ve been wanting isn’t increased spending for its own sake, we wanted increased spending that would make the team better. Overpaying Chris Davis doesn’t do that. At best it maintains the status quo.

keefer
Member
keefer
4 months 11 days ago

1. Blithely calling Davis “one dimensional” is not accurate. David Ortiz is one dimensional. Adam Dunn was one dimensional. Davis is a decent base runner, gets on base significantly better than average, and both UZR abd DRS rate him an above average defender the past 2 years.

2. Sarcasm aside, per the hallowed Fangraphs WAR, Davis was worth 13.4 WAR for the 3 years prior to his free agency. At the very least, that makes him a quality free agent.

Shirtless Bartolo Colon says in Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back to John Elway
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Shirtless Bartolo Colon says in Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back to John Elway
4 months 11 days ago

Players should get paid for what they’ll do, not what they’ve done, and what he’ll do in his 30 likely won’t be the same as what he did in his 20’s.

Paul22
Member
Paul22
4 months 11 days ago

Teams value offense more, especially that which has a SLG comment more than other elements like defense, speed and single hitters. That’s because its so rare and obviously XBH and HR have more value.

Since the Orioles have the DH spot, and we have seen how players like Ortiz have aged, I don’t know you can say the latter end will be a disaster with any certainty, especially if payroll inflation continues at the same pace as the last 3 years.

The biggest thing is Davis needs that TUE every year, not sure what the Orioles can do to make sure that happens

Paul22
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Paul22
4 months 11 days ago

Meant to write component

Shirtless Bartolo Colon says in Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back to John Elway
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Shirtless Bartolo Colon says in Serbian to Vietnamese to French and back to John Elway
4 months 11 days ago

Dante Bichette laughs at this comment.

Paul22
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Paul22
4 months 10 days ago

42 million in lifetime earnings, which are equivalent to over 100 million in todays revenue inflated dollars will give you a sense of humour

beyou02215
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beyou02215
4 months 11 days ago

I am not even an O’s fan, but this deal angers me. Why can’t teams just say ‘No’? Why do they let Boars manipulate them so easily? But at the end of the day teams only have themselves to blame. As the article says, the O’s had all the leverage but somehow, someway, they allowed themselves to get bamboozled.

Paul22
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Paul22
4 months 10 days ago

Well, seeing as MLB owners get to pay 70% of players at well under market value they have to give a few players a bone to prevent the rest from rising up and changing the system by walking out

dl80
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dl80
4 months 10 days ago

I think it’s the tusks.

Paul22
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Paul22
4 months 10 days ago

“To get to this price, Davis needs to be a true talent +4 WAR player right now, and he needs to age decently. Steamer sees him as a +2.4 WAR player right now….”

Because nobody in MLB uses WAR because of the bogus position adjustment which docks 1Bmen 1.25 WAR just for playing 1B. 1Bmen are paid much higher than WAR says they should be for this reason, because their major asset is valued higher than defense is because it is scarcer. Same is true of DH although not as much because the market for a DH is more limited than 1B thanks to the NL

BROD
Member
BROD
4 months 10 days ago

RE: “The price? $161 million over seven years, giving Davis the same annual average value as Jason Heyward, the winter’s best available position player.”

Best available position player? LOL!
Heyward is nothing more than a strict platoon player while Davis hits LHP pretty well, as at least he still hits for power against the same-handed pitching.

Vs LHP
Davis (1029 PA): .238/.292/.450 (97 wRC+)
Heyward (1038 PA): .230/.309/.351 (85 wRC+)

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=500&type=1&season=2015&month=57&season1=2006&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=17,d&page=2_30

BTW, it’s strange that Dave Cameron never mentions in his article concerning Heyward the blatant fact that he’s completely useless against lefties.

Maybe because he’s a WAR-oriented player? Or a Fangraphs-oriented player?

BROD
Member
BROD
4 months 10 days ago

What about 2015 (a 100 wRC+ season)?

Career vs L: .286 BABIP, 23.2 (Soft%), 48.1 (Med%), 28.7 (Hard%)
(2015) vs L: .350 BABIP, 27.9 (Soft%), 50.0 (Med%), 22.1 (Hard%)

As you see, it was a fluke.

dl80
Member
dl80
4 months 10 days ago

Hayward is good enough on defense that you can live with his offense against most lefties. If you’re going to platoon him with a righty who is average defensively (or worse), I’m not sure you gain much.

Inciarte was terrible against lefties in 2015, but was good enough against then in 2014 that his defense more than made up for it. We’ll see if he ends up similar to Hayward.

The Hammerer
Member
The Hammerer
4 months 10 days ago

Oh here come the WAR fangraphers. What a gross overpay….even though it is shown time after time that actual major league teams dont use WAR to value players. Oh what are the comps…. Yeah Ryan Howard stunk so Davis will too…I would like to see the actual scorecard of our forecasters and if they are any better than the dart throwing chimp at accuracy.

david k
Member
david k
4 months 9 days ago

So what evidence do you have in rebuttal if you think you can predict the future better than the “WAR Fangraphers”?

MS13
Member
MS13
4 months 10 days ago

The problem with comparing players like Howard and Dunn to Davis is that they fit the heavy, plodding, unathletic mold, while Davis is leaner and more athletic than given credit for. Guys like Pena and Branyan had much more extreme splits.

Here’s a mystery comp that might fit Davis a little bit better:

Davis’ avg season (age 26-29): 10.4% BB%, 30.8% K%, .277 ISO, .312 BABIP, .876 OPS, 135 wRC+, 15.5 total WAR

Player X’s avg season (age 26-29): 10.3% BB%, 20.1% K%, .230 ISO, .315 BABIP, .876 OPS, 145 wRC+, 14.8 total WAR

Davis is 6’3, 230, and has played mostly 1B with some time at 3B and corner OF

Player X was 6’2, 225, and played mostly corner OF with some time at 1B during this time period

Here’s what Player X averaged in his age 30-36 seasons:

11.9% BB%, 21.5% K%, .267 ISO, .319 BABIP, .929 OPS, 156 wRC+, 34.8 total WAR

Player X is Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. If Davis returned half of that value over the course of his new contract, this is a decent deal for the Orioles.

the flu
Member
Member
the flu
4 months 10 days ago

The 30.8% K% and 20.1% K% really jump out there even with difference in K% between era considered.

And it’s a pretty rare player that peaks in his early-to-mid 30s. Stargell had his three best seasons in that window.

MS13
Member
MS13
4 months 10 days ago

From ’66-’69 (Stargell’s age 26-29 seasons), the league average K% ranged from 15.2-15.9%. From ’12-’15 (Davis’ age 26-29 seasons), the league average K% ranged from 19.8-20.4%. So that difference in K-rate when taken in context is much closer than it appears to be.

Thome, Ortiz, Encarnacion, Bautista, Buhner, etc. are just some of the sluggers who excelled well into their 30s. That’s excluding all-time talents and players who were busted for PEDs (slight asterisk next to Ortiz) like Bonds, A-Rod, McGwire, Sosa, etc.

You could include Stargell in the “all-time talent” category (and I certainly wouldn’t put Davis in that category), but I think they compare favorably at this point in their respective careers.

FinethanxandYou
Member
FinethanxandYou
4 months 10 days ago

Ya know, David, ol’ pal, ya might want to revise this article a bit.
Worked out great for Davis, but for the Orioles too.

wpDiscuz