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Adam Jones' contract is great one for Orioles


Adam Jones' contract is great one for Orioles

Adam Jones turned 30 in 2015, and he’s halfway through one of the best deals in Orioles history.

Though the Orioles are often criticized, and rightly so, for not being proactive about contracts, Jones’ six-year extension, signed in May 2012, proves otherwise.

While Jones’ year may have seemed like a downer, in many ways, it really wasn’t.

He missed more games (25) than he had in any year since 2009, and after Sept. 1, he batted just .203 in 17 games, but he still hit 27 homers, drove in 82 runs and played a sterling center field.

Injuries caught up with Jones, who missed only three games in the preceding three seasons. There were injuries to an ankle, wrist, shoulder and finally a back injury that ended his season early.

In the three-plus seasons since Jones signed that contract, which was for six years and $85.5 million, he’s been the team’s rock, on and now more than ever, off the field.

Jones has often been good for outlandish statements, but during the final months of the 2015 season, he became something more, a respected clubhouse spokesman.

When the Orioles play well, Jones would sometimes give short answers to why that happened, but something happened in 2015 to make him even more valuable.

As the team struggled, as they lost, Jones became the team lightning rod. He wanted to be the team spokesman. When others were unavailable, he made himself available and didn’t hold back.

There was a maturity about him that was refreshing.

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Sure, there was still the goofiness, but he’s a husband and father now, and when he said he wanted to speak with team management about his suggestions to improve the team, it wasn’t done with anger.

It was because he cared.

Jones’ deal was a fine one for him, though surely he could have made more on the open market. It was a fine one for the Orioles, too.

Manager Buck Showalter, who Jones adores, said that managing partner Peter Angelos asked him prior to the deal whether Jones could be counted on. Showalter said he most assuredly could.

Jones has been lauded for his community involvement, encouraging minorities to play baseball, his refurbishment of Baltimore Boys and Girls Clubs, and his willingness to be part of his adopted community.

While he’s been active in the community, he’s been productive on the field, hitting 25 or more home runs and driving in at least 80 runs in each of the last five seasons.

Jones has been an All-Star in each of his last four seasons, and could capture his fourth straight Gold Glove, too.

He wants the Orioles to keep Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, and add some outside talent, too.

For now, Jones can rest his aching back. As another sign of maturity, Jones didn’t foolishly try and play through some of his injuries in 2015.

The guess here is that 2016 will be another strong year for Jones, and that the final three years of his contract will be just as productive as his first three—and then maybe there’ll be a few more here tacked on.

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm