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Dylan Bundy's health key for Orioles in 2016


Dylan Bundy's health key for Orioles in 2016

From 2007-12, the Orioles had successful drafts. Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Mychal Givens, Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman were all high draft picks. So was Dylan Bundy.

Bundy was the fourth overall choice in 2011. The Orioles gave Bundy a $4 million signing bonus and a major league contract when he signed.

Four years later, Bundy is still as important to them as he was in Aug. 2011, but due to Tommy John surgery and its aftermath, all he has to his credit are two brief major league appearances in Sept. 2012.

When the Orioles gave Bundy a major league contract, it was standard operating procedure for top prospects. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was signed not long after Bundy joined the organization prohibits signing of major league contracts for drafted players.

By now, the Orioles expected Bundy to be a major part of their rotation, not someone they’d have to carefully monitor in the Arizona Fall League.

Bundy breezed through a scoreless inning on Monday and he’ll pitch a few more times for the Peoria Javelinas. If he comes through that, then the Orioles will probably get another look at January’s minicamp and spring training a month later.

Since Bundy had Tommy John surgery in June 2013, he’s pitched just 63 1/3 innings. This year, he threw 22 in eight brief starts for Bowie before he was shut down.

If things worked well, Bundy could have joined the Orioles late in the season. Now, because of his contract, Bundy must stay on the Orioles 25-man roster or be exposed to waivers.

Bundy would certainly be snapped up by another team. Despite his injuries, he’s valued highly by other teams, and by the Orioles, too.

Later this month, Bundy turns 23, and he’s far from being a polished major league pitcher.

He’ll start 2016 in the Orioles bullpen; he doesn’t have the innings built up to be a starter. Or, he could stay down in Sarasota to try and build himself up for a bit.

The disabled list would only be a temporary solution.

With openings likely in the bullpen, the Orioles would like to see Bundy there. As they have in the past, they may try to add someone from the Rule 5 draft. It would be difficult for the Orioles to keep both Bundy, who’ll be under restrictions, and another Jason Garcia type on the roster.

If Bundy has an injury-free 2016, perhaps he can move into the starting rotation, and finally the attention they’ve paid to him will be repaid.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles need a healthy Gonzalez in 2016

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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."