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Griffey should have been unanimous Hall of Fame choice

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Griffey should have been unanimous Hall of Fame choice

Ken Griffey, Jr. received a higher percentage of the vote than anyone else in Hall of Fame balloting. And, he should have. Griffey was a truly great player with no hint of scandal, and deserved each of the 440 votes.

Griffey received all but three of the votes, and while it’s understandable that people are outraged that three members of the Baseball Writers didn’t vote for him, and it’s not a cause for alarm.

Perhaps 40 players should have been elected unanimously to the Hall. There’s no reason to think that Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Tom Seaver should be missing on anyone’s ballot, but they were.

There’s been a push towards transparency in recent years, and voters are encouraged, but not required to disclose their votes. Nearly half the voters made their choices public ahead of time in well-thought out blogs or columns.

If those three voters decided that Griffey was a sure thing, and they had 10 other worthy candidates, that’s faulty reasoning. You should vote for the 10 best candidates. Not all the voters submitted full ballots, but more than half appear to have done so.

In the past, others didn’t vote for an obvious candidate because they didn’t want a player to become the first to be elected unanimously. That’s just silly, but reasoning like that is between a voter and their employer—if in fact there’s still actively covering the game.

RELATED: Griffey gets record percentage of Hall of Fame vote

Three voters, and presumably not the same three who excluded Griffey, included Mike Sweeney.

Sweeney was a fine player, and by all accounts a very nice man, who played the majority of his 16 years with the Kansas City Royals. He was a five-time All-Star, had 1,540 hits, 215 home runs and a .297 batting average.

He had an excellent career, but was not, by any stretch, a Hall of Famer. The three voters who checked off Sweeney’s name were probably doing him a favor because he was a good clubhouse guy, and that’s wrong, too.

Mike Piazza was also elected, and three players, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Trevor Hoffman all got more than two thirds, but not the 75 percent of the vote required.

It would have been cool if Raines, who has one more year of eligibility, could have gotten in with Griffey. Both Griffey and Raines were part of father-son duos. Griffey played on Seattle with his father, and Raines briefly played with the Orioles with his son.

Bagwell, Raines and Hoffman have good chances of getting into the Hall next year. Curt Schilling moved up to 52.3 percent while Mike Mussina recorded the biggest jump on the ballot, up to 43 percent.

Next year, there’s no surefire candidate. Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez are on the ballot, and that should help Bagwell, Raines and Hoffman.

Melvin Mora is eligible for next year’s ballot. He, along with former Oriole reliever Arthur Rhodes, must be approved by a screening committee in order to be considered.

Mora, who holds the Orioles record for highest batting average in a season (.340) isn’t any more qualified than Sweeney was, but I hope he gets on the ballot.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles to add Mark Quinn as assistant hitting coach

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

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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."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

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