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Here are five first half Orioles surprises


Here are five first half Orioles surprises

In the season’s first half, while several Orioles regulars were hurt and underperformed, there were several pleasant surprises.

Here are five:

1) Jimmy Paredes

Paredes was nearly dropped from the 40-man roster over the winter, and was the surprise of spring training. After starting the season on the disabled list with a back injury, Paredes had a terrific month, slumped and then rebounded.

He’s obviously a very streaky hitter, but overall his good days outnumber his bad ones.

No one could have predicted a .299 average with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs in the first half.

He’s limited in the field, however. Though he can play second and third and has played a bit in the outfield, Paredes is primarily a left-handed DH.

While he’s a switch hitter, Paredes bats far better from the left side (.309) than the right (.244). All of his home runs have come from the left side.

The Orioles may want him to work in the outfield over the winter. And, if he can play adequately there, it could be a big help.

2) Ubaldo Jimenez

Last July’s biggest disappointment is one of this season’s biggest surprises. Jimenez, who wasn’t even on the ALCS roster, has become a dependable starter, the kind of pitcher who earned a four-year, $50 million contract from the Orioles.

Jimenez has a career best strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s struck out more than three times as many as he’s walked. Last year, he had a horrifying 1.51 strikeouts per walk.

With a group of starters that’s struggled to go deep in games, Jimenez has completed seven innings seven times in 17 starts, and instead of worrying about him, they can depend on him as a starter for next year, too.


3) Chaz Roe

Roe was one of many non-roster invitees to spring training. When he was signed last December, there didn’t seem to be anything remarkable about his record.

During spring training, he was one of the later cuts, but again, nothing really stood out about him.

The Orioles purchased his contract from Norfolk the day after Brian Matusz was found with a foreign substance on his arm, and Roe is still with the Orioles nearly two months later.

He’s out of options, and would certainly be claimed if the Orioles tried to send him through waivers.

Roe’s first six outings were clean- 9 1/3 scoreless innings, and while he’s given up some runs since, he hasn’t had a truly awful performance.

He’s got a 2.67 ERA, has given up far less than a hit and inning, allowed just two home runs in 27 innings, and struck out three times as many as he’s walked.

4) Ryan Flaherty

The Orioles have missed Jonathan Schoop’s bat, but in the meantime, Flaherty has played a very nice second base.

In 48 games at second base, Flaherty made just one error.

Flaherty’s hitting has improved under Scott Coolbaugh, and while he’s cooled off, he’s become somewhat more patient.

While his .320 on-base percentage isn’t all that impressive, it’s 10 points higher than the team’s.

5) Nolan Reimold

There are many Orioles fans who never expected to see Reimold again, but he outplayed Delmon Young and is still with the team.

Reimold has played in 19 games with two home runs, and has shown good speed. He even started two games in center field while Adam Jones was injured, the first time he’s played there in the majors.

HONORABLE MENTION: Oliver Drake, Chris Parmelee and Mike Wright

Drake’s on the minor league disabled list, but saw his first major league action this season. He didn’t allow a run in his first five innings, and had a great debut in Miami, throwing three scoreless innings on May 23.

Parmelee arrived on June 15 as he was about to exercise his opt-out clause from Norfolk. He had four hits, two of them home runs in his first game, a 19-3 win over the Phillies, and while he hasn’t maintained the hot bat, has played a skilled first base.

Wright had two great starts. In his first, he held the Angels scoreless in seven innings, allowing just four hits with no walks. He followed that with seven more scoreless innings against Miami. Wright allowed only three hits in that one. He struggled since then, and is back in Norfolk.

NOTE: MLB Network has a fascinating program Wednesday at 7 p.m., “Buck Showalter, A Baseball Life.” Showalter is interviewed by Bob Costas, and there’s lots of inside stuff for fans. Showalter’s wife, Angela, also offers some great insights, and there’s the unforgettable postgame press conference after the game without fans where Buck is asked what advice he’d give young African American males in Baltimore’s inner city.

It’s the Showalter those of us fortunate enough to see him every day are familiar with.

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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."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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