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Former Oriole Jake Arrieta leads Cubs to Division Series


Former Oriole Jake Arrieta leads Cubs to Division Series

No one knew that Jake Arrieta would be this good. The Orioles always knew he had talent, but no one, no one could have imagined that Arrieta would get on this kind of roll.

Most Orioles fans were relieved when Arrieta was sent away in July 2013. He had frustrated them, and team officials.

In his first two seasons, Arrieta was 16-14 with an ERA around five. He was called up to the Orioles in June 2010 while Juan Samuel was the team’s interim manager, and teased the team with his obvious talent.

Arrieta was an overthinker, and in 2012, regressed to a 3-9 record with a 6.20 ERA. A year later after going 1-2 with a 7.20 ERA in five starts and being sent back to Norfolk yet again, Arrieta and Pedro Strop, a reliever who had also regressed, were traded to the Cubs for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.

Feldman, who manager Buck Showalter had long admired, had a decent half-season in Baltimore before signing a three-year, $30 million contract with Houston.

Clevenger could be a useful part of next season’s team.

Everyone with the Orioles liked Arrieta. Yet, everyone was frustrated by him, and they felt he’d never be successful with the Orioles.

It would have been fascinating if the Orioles had hung onto to Arrieta if Dave Wallace could have unlocked the same talent that Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio has. Wallace didn’t arrive until the season after Arrieta left.

In the run-up to Wednesday night’s Cubs win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, many fans groused that it was unfair that the teams with the second and third best record in baseball could only play one postseason game.

I thought it was great. The 98-win Pirates and the 97-win Cubs was a much more compelling matchup than the 87-win Yankees and 86-win Astros.

Shorter series are more exciting. There’s more of a sense of urgency. In many ways, the best of five Division Series are more exciting than the best of seven League Championship Series.

Before the advent of the wild card, it wasn’t uncommon to see teams with excellent records excluded from the postseason. In 1980, the Orioles won 100 games, but New York won three more to capture the AL East.

In 1993, the last season before the wild card, the San Francisco Giants won 103 games, but the Atlanta Braves won 104 to win the NL East.

To paraphrase Showalter, you want to get to the postseason, play better. If the Pirates won three more games, they would have won the NL Central.

Instead, Arrieta gets to pitch in his first Division Series. In 2012, he was left off the roster for the Orioles-Yankees matchup.

MORE ORIOLES: For starters, what derailed the Orioles in 2015?

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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