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Dubroff: Orioles' Worley acquisition necessary part of building


Dubroff: Orioles' Worley acquisition necessary part of building

Orioles fans reaction to the acquisition of Vance Worley was rather negative. And, that’s putting it mildly.

It’s not Worley who they object to. It’s the kind of move they object to, and they shouldn’t.

Nearly all the fans who weighed in on CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Facebook page panned the move.

“Dumpster diving,” one predictably read. “Another retread,” said another.

And those were among the milder ones.

The Orioles will be busy this off-season. They’ll try and sign at least some of their top shelf free agents, but there will be many more of these kind of moves, and there should be.

In 2012, some of the under the radar moves paid off. Nate McLouth was rescued off the scrap heap, rebounded sharply and helped the Orioles make it to the fifth game of the Division Series.

Miguel Gonzalez was a totally unnoticed signing, and he’s been an effective starting pitcher. No one knew who he was when he signed.

Many of these same fans would have decried the acquisition of Steve Pearce a few years ago, too, but he was essential to the 2014 AL East team.

Last year’s moves weren’t good, and Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is under pressure to make better ones this year.

Championship clubs need a combination of a strong farm system and smart acquisitions by trade, waivers, drafts and free agents to succeed.

The reason the Orioles have to resort to moves that fans decry isn’t because they’re cheap, another familiar wail, but because their farm system hasn’t produced enough in certain areas. Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman—the team’s top four starting pitchers in 2015—none were products of the farm system, though Tillman was picked up in one of the best trades in team history.

Of the pitchers who started games for the Orioles in 2015, only Kevin Gausman, Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright are Orioles products.

The Orioles’ failure to replace Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis is well documented, but they couldn’t adequately replace them because they haven’t had many outfielders come through the farm system in recent years.

Dariel Alvarez, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia, are all Orioles products, but Alvarez and Urrutia were Cuban defectors who signed at advanced ages, and Reimold returned to the Orioles after playing for two other teams in 2014.

When the Orioles contemplated signing Cruz in early 2014, the team also looked at Kendrys Morales. Cruz and Morales both had qualifying offers attached to them, and had little interest in the market.

The Orioles astutely signed Cruz and passed on Morales. He didn’t sign until June and batted .218 in 98 games.

When Morales secured a two-year deal at $17 million with Kansas City, I scoffed and thought it was the worst signing of the offseason.

The Orioles shuddered when they heard about the signing, thinking Morales’ legs couldn’t hold up.

Morales hit .290 with 22 home runs and 106 RBIs in 158 RBIs.

But, if the Orioles had signed Morales last December, the fans would have yelled “dumpster diving” and “another retread.”

Morales was an improvement at DH over Billy Butler, a longtime Royal, who signed for more money with Oakland.

Ryan Madson, who has a key role in the Royals’ bullpen hadn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2011 because of injuries.

Chris Young, who pitched for Buck Showalter in Texas in 2004 and 2005, didn’t sign with Kansas City until March, and he’s been an effective starter.

If the Orioles signed Madson and Young last offseason, most would have scoffed, too, but they were necessary pieces for the Royals.

Worley’s resume is fairly impressive. In 2011, he was 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA as the Phillies’ fifth starter behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.

His stats were better than Oswalt’s that year.

Worley made $2.45 million last year, and is arbitration eligible. While he may not be a starter for the Orioles next year, he can compete for the fifth starter’s job, pitch occasionally in long relief. Perhaps Worley could slip into in the Tommy Hunter role and pitch effectively in the sixth and seventh innings.

So, relax fans. There will be many more of these kinds of moves, and they’ll probably involve players whose backgrounds aren’t as impressive as Worley.

On Oct. 5, when Duquette and Buck Showalter addressed the media, one quote stood out.

“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.

Duquette and Orioles fans are eager to find out who will be running down the orange carpet on Apr. 4.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles acquire veteran starter from Pirates

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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