Quick Links

Garcia could have bright future with Orioles


Garcia could have bright future with Orioles

There’s one certainty entering next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. The Orioles will actively participate in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft.

They always do.

In Dan Duquette’s four years running the show, the Orioles have selected Ryan Flaherty, T.J. McFarland, Michael Almanzar and Jason Garcia in the Rule 5.

Flaherty and McFarland have contributed at the big league level. Almanzar hasn’t, but played decently at Norfolk last year, and Garcia was the biggest risk of all.

The Orioles have high hopes for the 23-year-old. They’ve invested lots of time, and most importantly, three critical months on him.

Garcia was taken by Houston in last year’s Rule 5 and immediately shipped off to the Orioles for cash considerations.

His arm, especially in spring training, impressed the team, and they worked diligently with him. After the final out of the season’s last game on Oct. 4, pitching coach Dave Wallace walked out to the bullpen to watch Garcia throw his last side session of 2015.

Garcia, who missed three months with a shoulder injury, got in some more time in the Arizona Fall League.

While he allowed just seven hits in 15 1/3 innings, Garcia walked a horrifying 15 batters in the AFL.

Manager Buck Showalter had to pick his spots with Garcia last season. Before he was put on the disabled list in May, he struck eight and walked 11 in 13 2/3 innings. When he returned in August, Garcia was much better, going 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 games, striking out 14 and walking six.

Scouts are divided on Garcia, one thinks that he’s a legitimate prospect, another says he’s a decent one, and a third isn’t high on him at all, saying that he relies too much on his fastball and his secondary pitches aren’t a factor at all. He goes so far as to predict that Garcia could be off the 40-man roster a year from now.

His supporters say that Garcia has an electric fastball, and the Orioles made a smart move in drafting him.

All three scouts say that the Orioles should send him to Bowie to begin 2016 and that he should start to build up innings. Two of the scouts think he can be a contributor later in the season.

Garcia had Tommy John surgery in 2013 when he was pitching in the Red Sox organization, and prior to last season, had never pitched above Low A ball.

The Orioles scouted him in the Instructional League, and afraid someone else would draft him from Boston, made a deal with the Astros to take him.

With a roster spot open on the 40-man, perhaps the Orioles use it to take an outfielder in the draft, or maybe they’ll find a prospect as good as many think Garcia is.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles should take a left hand turn looking for hitters

Quick Links

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."

Quick Links

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."