UPDATE (4:30 pst): Jerr Crasnick is reporting that the Orioles could be willing to offer Cespedes as much as $90 million, far below what he was expected to command at the outset of free agency.
It's believed the #Orioles are willing to go to five years and the $75-90M range to sign Yoenis Cespedes.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 15, 2016
ORIGINAL (3:15 pst): According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the Orioles have offered a contract to Yoenis Cespedes.
Per industry source, #orioles have made offer to Cespedes. Seem to prefer him over Upton at the moment. Nothing new on Chris Davis.— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) January 14, 2016
No details on Cespedes offer other than he seems to be the focus at the moment. #orioles want to re-sign Davis but patience wearing thin— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) January 14, 2016
Despite being one of the best outfielders on the open market, there haven't been many rumors surrounding Cespedes. The Mets have shown somewhat of a desire to bring him back, but only on a short-term deal. The White Sox were also tied to him earlier in the offseason, but those talks never advanced as they too were unwilling to negotiate a long-term deal.
If the Orioles do in fact wind up with Cespedes, that would all but guarantee that Chris Davis' time in Baltimore is over; and while it's been no secret that they're interested in bringing him back, they appear to be losing patience with the slugger.
"Orioles skipper Buck Showalter bluntly addressed the impasse with some interesting comments about the kind of money that's in play in the negotiations between the team and Davis.
'How much is enough?" Showalter said of the Davis situation on Wednesday, via The Baltimore Sun. 'I asked Chris during the season, 'Chris, when you walk into a Target store, can you buy anything you want? So, how much is enough?'
'I love Chris, but if that [his decision] makes or breaks our team, shame on us."
Those are strong words from the Orioles' manager, but it's easy to see why he's frustrated. The Orioles play in perhaps the 2nd toughest division (behind the NL Central) in baseball, and they're currently projected to finish the 2016 season with a record of 75-87, according to FanGraphs.
Ken Rosenthal raised an intriguing idea, which is that this offer is a ploy to bring Davis back.
#Orioles have made offer to Cespedes, per @masnroch. Legitimate pursuit or a leverage play against Chris Davis? We shall see.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 14, 2016
While adding Cespedes would undoubtedly help Baltimore, he likely wouldn't be enough to help propel them back towards the playoffs. Barring a late signing (which could happen as the Orioles have been connected to Yovani Gallardo), Baltimore is set to trot out a starting rotation of Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kevin Gausman, and Mike Wright.
Even adding a pitcher like Gallardo might be too little too late, as the Orioles' starting five is projected for a combined fWAR of 6.9, which is half a win less than what Clayton Kershaw is projected to be worth. Even with Cespedes, or Davis, the Orioles might simply not have enough pitching to carry them into the postseason this year.