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Do Orioles really need a No. 1 starter to contend?


Do Orioles really need a No. 1 starter to contend?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably exhausted from staying up past one watching the wonderful Game 1.

While the rest of the World Series isn’t guaranteed to be as exciting as Tuesday night’s game was, it was a great start.

And, no we aren’t guaranteed six more games just because the first one was close.

The Royals are starting Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young against the Mets’ terrific four young starters, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

Kansas City’s four starters combined for 41 wins this season. (I’m counting Cueto’s four with the Royals. He had seven with the Reds before his July trade).

Ventura and Volquez tied for the team lead with 13.

The Orioles top four starters: Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman won 43.

In 2014, the Orioles four top starters: Chen, Gonzalez, Tillman and Bud Norris had 54 wins.

I had predicted the Royals to win the World Series in five games, and I wasn’t bothered by their lack of a true No. 1 starter.

They made it to the World Series without one.

There aren’t many true No. 1 starters in baseball. The Dodgers have two in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, but they’ve yet to make it to the World Series.

Baseball’s only 20-game winners, Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel pitched for the Cubs and Astros, who didn’t make it to the World Series, either.

While it would be nice for the Orioles to take a shot at David Price, who is an unquestioned No. 1 starter, it’s probably best to try and build four or five pitchers who can win in double digits.

That’s what the Orioles did a year ago.

While the Orioles will try to get another starter to help, big seasons from Tillman and Kevin Gausman will be necessary for them to contend next season. Gonzalez is going to have to be the pitcher he was from 2012-14.

It’s fashionable for other teams to copy what the World Series winning team has done, but even if the Royals don’t win it, the Orioles should concentrate on building up a solid staff and hope that a No. 1 emerges.

NOTES: Adam Jones will be honored with the Brooks Robinson Community Service Award by the Major League Players Alumni Association on Nov. 10.

Jones is gathering well-deserved attention for his community involvement in Baltimore.

-The Orioles signed left-handed pitcher Adam Kolarek to a minor league contract. Kolarek, who went to Catonsville High and attended Maryland, spent six seasons in the Mets organization. He went 18-14 with a 3.56 ERA.

Infielder Corban Joseph, who played for Bowie in 2015, has been re-signed by the Orioles. Caleb’s brother played two games for the Yankees in 2013.

[RELATED: Orioles need a better 2016 from Tillman to contend]

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

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

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