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Does Happ contract change Orioles' plans?

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Does Happ contract change Orioles' plans?

J.A. Happ picked the right time to get hot. After the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired him at the trading deadline, Happ went 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA.

In five of those starts, Happ pitched six or more shutout innings and allowed four or fewer hits.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the Toronto Blue Jays, for whom he pitched from 2012-14, signed him to a three-year, $36 million contract.

Happ’s hot streak enabled him to lift his career record over .500. He’s 62-61 with a 4.13 ERA.

The 33-year-old had been linked this offseason to the Orioles, and in 2012, the Houston Astros discussed trading him to Baltimore. The Astros liked the seven-player package the Blue Jays offered much better than what the Orioles had.

MORE ORIOLES: ORIOLES LOOKING FOR OUTFIELDERS

Fans shouldn’t be shocked by this contract. It’s what the market has dictated, and pitchers the Orioles could be interested in such as Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, John Lackey and Jeff Samardzija, will sign for that much—and probably more.

The Orioles payroll—including the four players signed for next year—J.J. Hardy, Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, estimations for arbitration eligible players as well as those not yet eligible—is estimated at about $100 million.

That means that if the Orioles want to pay Chris Davis $20-$25 million a year, which is what it’s going to cost to keep him, they can sign a pitcher from the list above—and then very little else.

I’m not sure the budget Dan Duquette is working under, but I would be surprised if it were higher than $130-$140 million.

If the Orioles are serious about Davis, and they are—and they have been, they know their payroll is going to rise substantially. Last year, it was nearly $120 million, which is in the middle of major league payrolls.

Had they not extended a qualifying offer to Wieters, and they should have, they could have used that money to try and sign Davis, a pitcher, and perhaps a quality outfielder, say Alex Gordon.

Now, it’s likely sign two of the three.

Happ was the first big name free agent to sign. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Darren O’Day sign soon.

The real fun comes when the mega-stars of this class, David Price, who Happ is apparently replacing in the Blue Jays rotation, Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann sign.

Two weeks from today, the Orioles are holding their FanFest, and while they’d like to have a big name signee to trot out, it could be hard to have Davis—or someone else signed by then.

Duquette often does his best free agent work late in the process, and I don’t know if he feels any pressure to get something done more quickly than usual to assuage a restive fan base.

Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, often likes to let a market build, and the Orioles may not be able to afford to wait on him. The market for other free agent first baseman is slim.

Five of the other 14 first baseman listed by MLBTradeRumors.com have already played for the Orioles: Travis Ishikawa, Kelly Johnson, Chris Parmelee, Steve Pearce and Mark Reynolds.

I don’t think fans would be excited about any of them replacing Davis, although re-signing Pearce is certainly not out of the question.

Jeff Baker, Corey Hart, Garrett Jones, Justin Morneau and Mike Napoli are some of the other names on the list.

Once upon a time, Morneau was a star, the American League Most Valuable Player. But that was in 2006, and last year played just 49 games for Colorado.

While Morneau wouldn’t be a bad one-year flyer, he’s hardly the long-term solution at first.

The Orioles have Trey Mancini, who was the Eastern League’s MVP at Bowie, but he hasn’t played above Double-A. They also have Christian Walker, but he’s had only a handful of major league at-bats.

This week, the Orioles signed South Korean Ji-Man Choi, but that was to a minor league contract, and he’s never played in the majors, either.

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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."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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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