BALTIMORE – Chris Davis slipped on the Orioles jersey with No. 19 on it, smiled broadly and said, “Feels familiar.”
After spending much of the offseason wondering if he would continue his baseball career in Baltimore, Davis formally signed a $161 million, seven-year contract Thursday, a deal that includes $42 million in deferred money that he won’t receive final payment on until he is 51.
The deal was announced in a news conference at Camden Yards, where the reigning major league home run king has been hitting long balls for the Orioles since the middle of the 2011 season.
“Not only do I get the opportunity to spend the majority of my career in one place, but the opportunity to be with a franchise that has had so much success in the past and has so much history,” Davis said. “It’s something that not a lot of guys get the opportunity to do.”
Davis, 29, became a free agent after the 2015 season. He was pursued heavily by the Orioles, who finally struck a deal over the weekend pending a medical examination.
“We always had Chris as a primary target to sign through the winter,” said Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations.
And now, Davis is the highest-paid player in the history of the franchise.
Davis will receive salaries of $23 million annually, but $6 million a year is deferred without interest. He will receive 10 payments of $3.5 million each July 1 from 2023-32 and five payments of $1.4 million every July 1 from 2033-37.
No matter how it’s sliced, that’s a lot of money.
“I understand the commitment that was made,” the first baseman said.
Davis had 47 homers and 117 RBIs last season. Since 2012, Davis leads the majors with 159 home runs and ranks fourth with 412 RBIs. Although he’s only been with the Orioles for 4½ years, the slugger is 10th on the team’s career home run list.