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Five Orioles predictions for the Winter Meetings


Five Orioles predictions for the Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings begin Monday in Nashville, Tenn. CSNBaltimore.com will be there. It will be four days of lots of talk, countless rumors, one or more of which may turn out to be fact, and at least some action.

Here are five predictions about what will happen for the Orioles at the winter meetings.

1) The Orioles will make a trade

The Orioles haven’t made many big trades in recent years at the Winter Meetings. This time, it will be different.

With Mark Reynolds presumably gone, there will be an effort to replace, whether at first base or as the designated hitter. The Kansas City Royals have  a lot of young talent which hasn’t gelled and the Orioles have been linked with Billy Butler for some time.

Even though Butler is a one-dimensional player, a true DH, something Buck Showalter wanted to avoid, plugging him into the lineup would allow Chris Davis to play first and account for two positions.

Butler’s averages are 20 home runs, 91 RBIs and he bats .300. He is also very durable. He’s only missed 11 games in the last four years.

He has two years remaining on his contract. The two years at $8 million each are probably less than they would have had to give Reynolds. (He also has a $12.5 million option for 2015.)

The Royals would love some young pitching. Perhaps Jake Arrieta and/or Zach Britton could rejoin Jeremy Guthrie in Kansas City.

2) The Orioles will be “in” on some big name free agent

Last summer, there was a pre-trade deadline report that the Orioles expressed interest in Zack Greinke. Over the past few weeks, there was chatter they were interested in Josh Hamilton.

Hamilton is far too pricey for them, So is Greinke, but the Orioles will probably concentrate on beefing up the lineup.

Nine years ago, the Orioles signed a big name free agent, Miguel Tejada, but they haven’t signed a major name since.

It would be a surprise if the Orioles left Nashville on Thursday with Hamilton in their lineup.

3) The Orioles will not sign any free agent this week

So far this off-season, Dan Duquette has been busy adding at the margins. The team’s additions, Alexi Casilla, Trayvon Robinson, Danny Valencia and Yamaico Navarro, haven’t been headline grabbers.

While some players who were non-tendered on Friday may interest the Orioles, expect the team to look at trades before free agents.

Jair Jurrjens was not offered a contract by Atlanta. In the past five years, Jurrjens has won 14 games once and 13 twice.

There will be a lot of competition for the 26-year-old Curacao native.  He made $5.5 million last year, and even though he was 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA in 11 starts, Jurrjens should get lots of interest.

Another name that’s getting some play is Nate Schierholtz, a 28-year-old outfielder the Phillies let go. Schierholtz’s problem is that he plays right field, and the Orioles have an opening in left. He’s played just eight games in left field.

4) The Orioles will take a player in the Rule 5 draft

The Rule 5 draft is made to order for Duquette, lots of overlooked players who could fill a niche. Ryan Flaherty was Duquette’s takeaway last December and he even homered in the Division Series.

The Orioles have room for a Rule 5 addition or two. They have 38 players on the 40-man roster.

5) The Orioles will finally name their third-base coach

Last week, Duquette said the team would probably name its successor to DeMarlo Hale as third base coach at the winter meetings. Some out-of-work coaches and former managers will probably try to convince the team that they’re a good fit.

Some of the rumored choices include Orioles minor league officials Bobby Dickerson and Brian Graham, Steve Smith a former Texas and Cleveland third base coach, Don Wakamatsu, a former Seattle manager, Rich Dauer, the onetime Orioles second baseman and former Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo.

The team could also move Wayne Kirby from first to third and perhaps add Mike Bordick. Last year, there was some talk that Cesar Izturis, a Showalter favorite, would join the staff, but he preferred to keep playing.

Most coaching openings have been accounted for by now, so the Orioles have their choice of quality candidates.

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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."