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The five worst contracts in Orioles history


The five worst contracts in Orioles history

Free agent season is here, and soon there’ll be outrageous sounding figures tossed around. The Orioles probably aren’t going to spend heavily, but if they’re thinking about it, let’s look at five of the worst contracts in Orioles history.


Belle signed for five years and $65 million. The Orioles thought they were stealing the slugger away from the New York Yankees. Instead, they got an angry man with a chronic hip condition.

He had a splendid first year, hitting 37 home runs with 117 RBIs, a .297 average and a .400 on-base percentage.

On the day Belle hit three home runs, he decided to talk to the press for the first and only time that season. He spoke, not in the Orioles clubhouse, but in the press dining room and chose the occasion to denounce a beat writer.

Belle broke down late in 2000, and didn’t play the final three years of his contract. He was on his way to a Hall of Fame career, but it was over at 33. He wasn’t missed

Many teammates say he was understood because in his prime, Belle rarely missed a game, but the contract gnawed at the Orioles for year.


Erickson, who had been a dependable pitcher for the Orioles for four seasons, signed a five-year, $32 million contract to begin in the 1999 season.

The Orioles paid about more than a million dollars per win.

Erickson won 15 games in 1999 and led the league with three shutouts, but missed two of the final four years on his contract and went 10-20 in the other two.

He had off-field issues, too and bounced around for years after his Orioles career, winning just two more games.

Erickson is currently a minor league pitching coach in the Cleveland organization and is married to onetime Monday Night Football reporter Lisa Guerrero.


Andy MacPhail was confident that Brian Roberts would justify his four-year, $40 million extension. By the time it ended, MacPhail predicted, Roberts would still be a productive 36.

Almost immediately after the contract extension took effect, Roberts began suffering from a bizarre series of injuries. Formerly healthy, Roberts has played in just 115 games in the first three years of his contract.

While he’s lauded for his determination and hard work in coming back from injuries, it’s become sad to watch. Roberts will try one final time in the spring as he ramps back up after right hip surgery.


Belle, Erickson and Ponson all have something in common. They were all polarizing figures who didn’t live up to their contracts.

Ponson’s contract for the Orioles was for three years and $22.5 million.

He had been traded to San Francisco in July 2003 and re-signed in
Baltimore after the season.

In Dec. 2004, Ponson was arrested for allegedly assaulting an Aruban judge. He spent 11 days in jail. The next month, he was charged with driving under the influence in Florida, and seven months later was charged with the same infraction in Baltimore. The Orioles released him and he later served five days in jail.

He had little success in future years.


Like Roberts, Baez was a good guy with a bad contract. The Orioles decided to beef up their bullpen for 2007. They signed Jamie Walker, Chad Bradford and Baez to three-year contracts. Baez’s three year, $19 million was the worst.

The Cuban refugee would happily describe his defection to anyone who asked and made no excuses for his poor performance.

Baez missed one year of the three and went 4-12 with a 5.02 ERA.

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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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

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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