The Orioles are finally done waiting on Chris Davis.
Or at least they’re making it appear that way.
According to MASN, the Orioles have made an offer to free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a player they’ve reportedly shown interest in throughout the offseason. Specifics of the offer are unclear, making one wonder if this is a serious pursuit or just an attempt at a stronger signal to Davis and agent Scott Boras that the club is willing to move on.
ESPN reported that the Orioles are willing to offer up to five years and $90 million.
There has been no movement with Davis since the Orioles pulled a seven-year, $150 million last month, but little evidence had suggested the organization was truly moving on beyond periodic reports of interest in Cespedes and fellow free-agent outfielder Justin Upton. MASN also reported that Cespedes is the preference over the younger Upton, who could command more money and a longer commitment in addition to the forfeiture of the Orioles’ 2016 first-round pick to sign him.
Because he was traded last July, Cespedes was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer that would have attached draft compensation to his free agency.
Cespedes, 30, is coming off a career year in which he hit .291 with 35 home runs, 105 runs batted in, and an .870 on-base plus slugging percentage split between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Mets. The right-handed outfielder was worth a combined 6.3 wins above replacement in 2015, according to Baseball Reference.
The market has been tepid for outfielders this offseason, but Cespedes is a career .271 hitter with an .805 OPS in four major league seasons since defecting from Cuba in 2011. He also possesses a strong throwing arm and has played above-average defense in left field and is capable of playing center as well.