The Baltimore Orioles have reportedly offered Yoenis Cespedes a deal worth $90 million over five years, with the possibility of an option for a sixth year. This comes as a report from Jon Heyman:
orioles offer to cespedes is said to be about 90M for 5 years. may include 6th year option. uncertain how he'll respond.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 15, 2016
The Orioles have already spent months chasing after their potentially-departing first baseman, Chris Davis. As recently as last month, the Orioles increased their offer to Davis going as high as $168 million over seven years.
Cespedes' offer then is rumored to be $80 million less than what the Orioles have been willing to pay Davis. It has been suggested that the Orioles' patience is wearing thin.
Davis, who bats left-handed, is only five months younger than the right-handed Cespedes. While Davis' 2014 campaign might have scared away other teams from pursuing the slugger, he is still likely the best hitter on the open market. While his name hasn't come up linked to many other teams, the Scott Boras client seems to have played tough-to-get with his former team.
Of course, it has been suggested that this Cespedes offer is just being used as leverage for the Orioles to force Davis into re-signing. According to David Brown of CBS Sports, Davis and the Orioles still have a deal worth $150 million on the table. However, Cespedes was worth one win more than Davis last season, thanks in part to his ability to play corner outfield with success.
Whether this is just leverage or not remains to be seen. In all likelihood, the Orioles only have the payroll availability to sign one of Davis or Cespedes. However, if signing Cespedes would actually save the Orioles $60 million as rumored, then it might actually be in their best interest to move on from their star first baseman. Expect this news to at least force some future news.