The Baltimore Orioles made qualifying offers Friday to slugging first baseman Chris Davis, left-handed starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, and All-Star catcher Matt Wieters, locking up compensatory draft picks for their free agents if they fail to re-sign for another stint in Camden Yards, the club announced Friday.
None of the three are expected to accept their one-year $15.8 million offers, and all will likely draw significant -- and lucrative -- interest from other clubs as free agents. Each player has a week to accept or decline the offer. If the player declines and signs with another club, the Orioles will be awarded a pick at the end of the first round in next year's draft, and the club that signs him will forfeit its highest unprotected pick.
Free agents are allowed to begin negotiating with other teams beginning Saturday. All three players are represented by Scott Boras, who is well-known for taking his clients to free agency and aiming for the highest bid the open market will bear -- and sometimes beyond.
Davis, 29, was the major league home run leader in 2015 with 47 dingers; the second time in three years he's held the title. The lefty swinger was second in isolated power to only Bryce Harper this season and,over the last four seasons, only to Giancarlo Stanton -- a four-year stint that saw him send 159 balls over the wall -- roughly one every 14 at-bats -- with a batting line of .257/.341/.526.
Chen, 30, a native of Taiwan, went 11-8 this year throwing to a 3.34 ERA over 31 starts spanning 191 1/3 IP in his fourth season with the club; leading the O's rotation in ERA and IP, and has compiled an overall 46-32 record and 3.72 ERA over a durable 706.2 innings pitched with the Orioles since opting out of his contract with the Chunichi Dragons in Japan.
Wieters, 29, rejoined the club in June following a year's absence due to Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm and was only able start at catcher sporadically. While appearing in just 101 games over the last two seasons due to his injured arm, quality catchers are scarce and the O's first-round pick in the 2007 draft is a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and switch-hitter who was batting over .300 last June when he got hurt, and he would tempt teams looking for stability behind the dish.