Orioles

Quick Links

Davis signing keys productive winter, but is it enough?

chrisdavis.jpg

Davis signing keys productive winter, but is it enough?

On the day after the regular season ended, Dan Duquette reviewed 2015 and looked ahead to 2016.

“We're going to have a good team when we start the season. I don't know who exactly will be on it,” Duquette said.

Looking outside Saturday morning, it’s hard to believe, but in 26 days the Orioles pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota.

Between now and Feb. 18, work will be done, but Duquette and Buck Showalter have a much better idea of who is going to be on their team now than they did on Oct. 5.

At that time, Duquette said that he hoped to sign a couple of the team’s free agents. Many people bet that the couple would be Gerardo Parra and Steve Pearce.

The Orioles didn’t show much interest in either, and Parra went to Colorado for three years and $27 million and Pearce agreed to a one-year contract with Tampa Bay on Thursday.

You may have missed that news because Thursday was when Chris Davis’ new contract was officially announced.

Davis was Peter Angelos’ main priority even though Duquette said at that talk, the club would be looking for pitching.

The biggest loss the Orioles sustained over the winter was Wei-Yin Chen, whose five-year $80 million deal was clearly out of the club’s comfort zone.

A seven-year, $161 million contract seemed out of the team’s comfort zone in October, too, but the team has come to realize that this is a new age in baseball salaries, and if the Orioles are going to compete, and yes, make their fan base happy, they’re going to pay a huge price to keep their stars.

In between getting another starting pitcher and a right fielder, the Orioles may try and negotiate an extension for Manny Machado, who will be impressed by the size of the Davis deal.
Showalter, who has been key, in convincing Angelos that the Orioles needed to change their philosophy on free agents, has some big decisions to make.

Unless the team signs a right fielder who’s a no-brainer choice as a leadoff hitter, Showalter will have a hard choice about who to lead off with.

While he’d prefer to have Machado lower in the lineup, there might be a lot of pressure on Hyun Soo Kim, the South Korean the team signed to play left. Kim was an on-base machine in Korea, but he hasn’t played in the U.S., and he’s a mite heavy for a leadoff man.

Duquette seemed to back away from Yovani Gallardo in a radio interview on Friday, saying that the team doesn’t want to surrender its top draft choice for signing him.

Everyone around the Orioles knows this year’s draft will be key. The 14th pick will be the team’s highest in four years, and it gets extra picks in the early rounds for losing Chen, the failure to sign second round pick Jonathan Hughes and a competitive balance pick.

Gallardo is the only top shelf pitcher remaining, and assuming he signs elsewhere, the team can concentrate on Doug Fister, Mat Latos and some others.

“There are some pitchers out there we like, and we’ve also talked to some other teams about pitching,” Duquette said on Thursday night.

“The problem in the pitching market is that there are more teams chasing fewer pitchers. There are not enough to go around. That is an-age problem, but it was very acute this winter.”

The Orioles have had a productive off-season. They brought back Matt Wieters for another season for the $15.8 million qualifying offer, added another power hitter, Mark Trumbo for 2016 at minimal cost, and re-signed Davis and Darren O’Day.

They also signed a number of their key arbitration-eligible players including Machado, Trumbo and Chris Tillman without rancor leaving only Zach Britton and Brian Matusz unsigned.

It would seem unlikely that either Britton or Matusz go the arbitration route.

But, through all these accomplishments, and they are impressive, many are still skeptical about the team.

The bullpen should be strong, and so should the defense. The starters must pitch better than they did last year, and if that’s the case, maybe there’s a chance in 2016.

Duquette said he wasn’t shocked that half of the team’s free agents are returning in 2016.

“I know that the players that are returning here enjoy playing her. You heard Chris talk about the atmosphere that Buck has created and the way fans welcome them into the community in Baltimore and how the players contributed to the community,” Duquette said.

“All that is good and hard to find. This is a great baseball town. The fans love the players. It didn’t surprise me and we have something that we can build on here.”

MORE ORIOLES: Is it time for Orioles to forget Gallardo?

Quick Links

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

tillman-usat.png
USA Today Sports

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."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Quick Links

Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

machado_spring_training.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

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