Chris Davis contract: How much do Orioles owe struggling first baseman?

While the historic hitting drought first baseman Chris Davis has endured to start the 2019 season makes his massive contract with the Orioles look worse, it has been clear for a while that Baltimore would not get good value on the deal, which was agreed upon in 2016.

Davis has not hit above .221 since signing the seven-year, $161 million contract, and he has surpassed 30 home runs just once.

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The Orioles have gutted the rest of their roster to rebuild, including trading superstar Manny Machado last summer, but they haven’t been able to offload Davis. As he continues to provide little to no production, they have few good options moving forward.

We broke down the specifics of his contract and what Baltimore can do from here:

Chris Davis contract

How much does Chris Davis make?

Davis makes $17 million per year. Additionally, he will receive a significant amount of deferred money long after he’s done playing.

How much money is being deferred?

Davis will receive annual deferred payments of $3.5 million from 2023-32 and annual payments of $1.4 million from 2033-37. 

How much longer is Chris Davis under contract?

Davis is under contract through the 2022 season. He will be 36 when the deal expires.

Can the Orioles trade Chris Davis?

Almost certainly not, at least with so many years remaining on his deal. Even if Baltimore were to eat most of the contract and throw in several high-end prospects, there’s little reason another team would bite.

Will Chris Davis retire?

This is also unlikely because it would require Davis to give up tens of millions of potential dollars. But given his status as a national punchline for his ineptitude at the plate, he may eventually decide to get out of the spotlight to spend time with his family, deeming the $119 million he has already earned in his career sufficient.

His current run is almost unparalleled in professional sports.

Can the Orioles release or buy out Chris Davis?

At some point, Baltimore might realize Davis is a sunk cost and act accordingly. After all, having an automatic out taking the place of a young player with potential in the lineup is not conducive to long-term rebuilding.

What would that look like? Perhaps they can work out a deal to tack on even more deferred money down the road. If not, they might just accept they aren’t likely to compete soon anyway and eat the cash at a time they probably weren’t planning to make a splash on other free agents.

What are some other bad MLB contracts right now?

Albert Pujols, Angels: Owed $59 million over two years after this season.

Jason Heyward, Cubs: Owed $86 million over four years after this season, plus deferred money.

Robinson Cano, Mets: Owed $96 million over four years after this season.

Evan Longoria, Giants: Owed $52 million over three years after this season, plus deferred money.

Ian Desmond, Rockies: Owed $25 million over two years after this season.

(Sources: Baseball Prospectus, Spotrac.com.)

We also chronicled the worst free-agent deals for all 30 teams.

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