Report: Orioles and Chris Davis agree on seven year, $161 million contract

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UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the deal includes $42 million in interest-free deferred payments. Davis will make $17 million per season from 2016-2022. He’ll then receive annual payments of $3.5 million from 2023-2032 and $1.4 million from 2033-2037.

Per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the present-day value of the contract is expected to come in under $150 million.

12:05 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal may only include a partial no-trade clause. It is also expected to include deferred money, which would take away from the present-day value of the contract.

8:09 a.m. ET: Big news this Saturday morning, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles and Chris Davis have reached agreement on a new contract. Heyman adds that the deal is worth $161 million over seven years. It easily surpasses Adam Jones‘ $85.5 million extension as the richest contract in franchise history.

The final number also beats out the Orioles’ previous reported offer, which checked in at seven years and $150 million and included some deferred money. They eventually pulled that offer, but remained open to revisiting a possible deal. With negotiations stalled between the two sides, the Orioles were considering alternatives in recent weeks. The club reportedly made a five-year, $90 million offer to free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes this week, which could have forced a resolution with Davis.

After a down 2014 which ended with a 25-game amphetamine suspension, Davis bounced back in big way last season by leading MLB with 47 homers while posting a .262/.361/.562 batting line. The slugger turns 30 in March and the new deal will carry him through his age-37 season. This is a huge price to pay, especially when it’s unclear who the Orioles were bidding against, but owner Peter Angelos made him a priority and he’s considered a fan favorite. In addition to providing balance to Baltimore’s righty-heavy lineup, Davis has thrived at Camden Yards in his career, posting a .927 OPS. Most of these contracts don’t age well, but continuing this partnership makes sense for both sides.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Davis’ new deal includes a full no-trade clause and doesn’t have an opt-out.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.