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Do the Orioles have enough candidates for the bullpen?

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Do the Orioles have enough candidates for the bullpen?

One of the more interesting subplots of next year’s spring training will be the jockeying for the final spots in the bullpen.

Assuming Darren O’Day doesn’t return, and Brian Matusz does, it seems that four of the seven spots are accounted for.

Matusz, Brad Brach, Zach Britton and Mychal Givens would be on the team, and while the Orioles are likely to pick up a few more relievers in the off-season, there are a number of pitchers currently on hand who will be part of the Sarasota conversation.

One who probably won’t be is Jason Garcia, last year’s Rule 5 choice, who is likely to pitch for Bowie or Norfolk next season. But, if he has a strong spring or a good start in his first stint in the high minors, he could be part of the staff.

T.J. McFarland could be a dark horse for the fifth starter’s job, and should be on the team as a needed left-handed long man.

Vance Worley, who was acquired on waivers from Pittsburgh last month, could be a candidate to either start or relieve. Worley is also a possibility to be non-tendered.

Worley made $2.45 million for the Pirates last year, and was 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA, so the Orioles might not be eager to pay him $3 million next year.

Mike Wright has a real chance to be in the bullpen. While he started in the minor leagues and had early success for the Orioles in 2015, the team thinks his real future is probably in the bullpen. He could take over Tommy Hunter’s old spot.

Tyler Wilson could wind up in the bullpen, too. He’s an option as fifth starter—especially if the Orioles don’t sign someone with a longer resume. He could start the season in the bullpen, or back in Norfolk until a need for him arises.

As for pure relievers, the Orioles will look at Oliver Drake and Chaz Roe, who they saw for the first time last year. While Drake, who finally made his major league debut after eight years in the organization, had some good stats (2.87 ERA in 13 games), he also had some bad ones (1.596 WHIP).

When Roe’s contract was purchased in late May, it seemed farfetched that he’d stay around the rest of the season. But, he did. While slowed by injuries, Roe pitched in 36 games and had an ERA under 1 in his first 15 games.

He missed nearly a month with shoulder tendinitis and was held out of the last 10 games.

Roe ended up pitching more games than anyone but Brach, Britton, Hunter, Matusz and O’Day, and it will be fascinating to see if he can recapture his early magic. His second half was troubling.

Steve Johnson remains on the 40-man roster, and three pitchers who Dan Duquette thinks could be contributors later in the season were placed on the roster last week.

Parker Bridwell, Christopher Lee and Andrew Triggs have never pitched above Double-A in the Orioles system, but Lee and Triggs in particular have impressive minor league numbers. Triggs pitched in one Triple-A game for Omaha in 2014. Left-hander Chris Jones, who has pitched at Norfolk the last three seasons, has also been added to the 40-man roster.

The Orioles will have at least four pitchers with minor league contracts in spring training. This week, Pedro Beato, Cesar Cabral, Todd Redmond and Ashur Tolliver received formal invitations. All but Tolliver have major league experience. Tolliver has some good numbers at Bowie, but like Lee and Triggs has no real experience above Double-A.

It’s also possible Dylan Bundy, if healthy, could find himself in the bullpen. Bundy is out of options, and if he’s able to pitch, will likely work out of the bullpen as he tries to build up innings.

Because of Bundy’s situation, it may be hard to carry a Rule 5 pitcher has they did with McFarland in 2013 and Garcia this year, but it’s certainly possible they’ll try to draft another one in the Dec. 10 Rule 5 draft.  

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

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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."

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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