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Duquette on the way home from General Manager meetings


Duquette on the way home from General Manager meetings

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Dan Duquette left the General Managers meetings on Thursday morning hoping that his time here set the Orioles up for trades and free agent signings.

Duquette continued to meet with more agents and teams on Wednesday night as the Orioles continue to look for pitchers and outfielders.

By Friday at 5 p.m., the Orioles will learn whether Matt Wieters accepted their qualifying offer of $15.8 million. Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Davis will reject theirs.

The agent for Chen, Davis and Wieters, Scott Boras held court on Wednesday afternoon.

Boras believes that major league players are underpaid and that the $15.8 million qualifying offer is unfair because it holds the market value of many players down. He also objects to baseball executive salaries rising without a governor while player salaries are held down artificially in his opinion.

RELATED: Boras says Wieters hasn't decided on qualifying offer

And, the prices he pays for season tickets keep rising, he remarked.

If Wieters declines the qualifying offer as has everyone else in the first three years of the system, he’ll be free to negotiate with others, and the Orioles will turn elsewhere for a free agent catcher.

Two of the more experienced names, Chris Iannetta and A.J. Pierzynski, are reportedly already off the market.

Boras compared Davis’ stats with Alex Rodriguez’s—back in the days when he was a client of the uber-agent. Clearly, Boras is expecting a big haul for Davis, and he implied that Orioles ownership has taken notice.

Chen won’t be back with the Orioles next year, and he’ll be one of the prized left-handers on the market.

Darren O’Day has gotten huge interest from teams, including the Orioles, but it seems a stretch for him to stay, particularly when others will likely be offering much more money, a longer contract and in some cases, a more prominent role.

The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins made an interesting trade on Wednesday with catcher John Ryan Murphy heading off to the Twins for outfielder Aaron Hicks.

Hicks was a first round pick in 2008, and has hit only .225 in parts of three seasons with Minnesota. He has some power, but strikes out a lot. He’s also speedy and if the Yankees trade Brett Gardner, could be a cheaper replacement.

Gardner to the Orioles? I doubt it.

He’s owed $37.5 million over the next three seasons, and still has some decent numbers (16 homers, 66 RBIs, a .259 average with a .343 on-base percentage and 20 steals last year). At 32, he’s on the downward slope, but I don’t see a trade match with New York.

The Orioles and Yankees don’t often make deals with each other.

“I believe you have to be a little more thoughtful if you’re going to trade within your division,” Duquette said.

“A lot of times there’s good reason to trade within your division. Generally, that’s not the preferred choice, right? Because if you’re not right on your transaction you have to look at your transaction 18 times a year. It’s generally easier to look outside your division. Sometimes it’s required.”

MORE ORIOLES: O'Day continues to draw huge free agent interest

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Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

USA Today Sports

Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Cobb's comfort and familiarity with the AL East was the deciding factor in his decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

"They used the AL East and the success I've had in it to their advantage," the 30-year-old right-hander said Wednesday after finalizing a $57 million, four-year contract. "They kept challenging me with it and I love the challenge of pitching in this division and they know that over the times we talked. They did a really good job of making me feel like this is where I need to be."

Cobb gets $14 million in each of the first three seasons and $15 million in 2021, and he would earn a $500,000 bonus in each year he pitches 180 innings. Baltimore will defer $6.5 million from this year's salary and $4.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He gets $2 million of the deferred money on Nov. 30, 2022, and $1.8 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2023-32. If he doesn't pitch at least 130 innings in 2020, an additional $5.25 million of the final's year salary would get deferred, payable $1.75 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2033-35.


Cobb has a full no-trade this year, then can list 10 teams from 2019-21 that he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

He had spent his entire six-season big league career with Tampa Bay and was the last big-name starting pitcher available in a slow-moving free agent market. He joined Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, who were signed last month, in a revamped rotation that includes holdovers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Cobb was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season. He pitched 179 1/3 innings in his first full year back after missing nearly two seasons because of Tommy John surgery.

He had turned down the Rays' $17.4 million qualifying offer in November, and Baltimore pursued him from the start of free agency.

"They didn't stop bothering me the whole offseason," Cobb said. "They were very persistent, and I think that you notice that confidence they have in you just by the way they speak to you and the questions you ask and not questioning anything that's gone on. Everyone's got flaws that they come with and potential things you could really harp on that might not be your strong suit, but they never went down that avenue. They always told me how much they like certain aspects of what I do on and off the field, and just kept repeating how well I fit in here."


Cobb is 48-35 with a 3.50 in six big league seasons. Baltimore will lose its third-highest draft pick, currently No. 51, and the Rays get an extra selection after the first round as compensation.

Jose Mesa Jr. was designated for assignment Wednesday to clear a roster spot.

Baltimore opens on March 29 at home against Minnesota, but Cobb won't be ready to pitch then. He has agreed to be optioned to a minor league affiliate to help build up innings.

"I'm going to be pushing it as quick as I can," Cobb said. "That's going to be up to them. They've invested in me for a four-year period and as much as we know how much every game matters even early in April, we're going to have to look out for the overall future of this whole thing and whole contract and whatever they determine to be the way to protect me and my feedback from the bullpens I'm going to be throwing here in the next few days will probably determine the timeline."

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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."