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How many utility infielders is enough for Orioles?


How many utility infielders is enough for Orioles?

Can both Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish be included on next year’s Opening Day roster? That’s something Buck Showalter will have to figure out next March.

Showalter likes both Flaherty and Janish. He loves Flaherty’s versatility and quickly grew to admire Janish for both his baseball knowledge and his steadying influence on pitchers in Norfolk.

Flaherty and Janish are both eligible for arbitration, and need to be offered contracts by Dec. 2.

In 2015, Flaherty started games at six positions—first, second, third, shortstop, left and right field. He made $1.075 million, and is under club control for two more seasons.

While Flaherty batted just .202 last season, the Orioles are hoping that both J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop will be healthier in 2016. Schoop missed nearly half the season with a right knee injury.

Flaherty’s defense is strong, especially at second. He made just one error in 56 games there.

Last year, Flaherty suffered through a horrid stretch where he went 0-for-34, the longest hitless streak by an Orioles position player in more than 40 years. He also ended the year wearing an 0-for-19 collar.

Janish, who was added when Hardy went on the DL with a groin injury in late August, isn’t known for his hitting, either.

While Flaherty has some power; he hit nine homers last year, Janish hasn’t hit a major league home run since Sept. 3, 2010.

Janish’s lifetime average is .216, and Flaherty’s is .215.

While Flaherty’s best position is second, Janish’s is short. Janish has only played short, second and third and hasn’t played the outfield.

Flaherty has an option left. Janish doesn’t.

After Janish joined the club, the two naturally gravitated toward each other. They’d often watch games together and have other things in common, too. Both are nearing their degrees from prestigious universities, Flaherty from Vanderbilt and Janish from Rice.

Janish was set to finish his degree in September, but the major leagues got in the way. He’s an economics major.

When the Orioles report to spring training next February, the two could be joined by Steve Tolleson, who recently signed a minor league contract with the team.

It was listed in Baseball America’s transactions, but hasn’t been officially announced. Tolleson, who is also well liked by Showalter, hit .189 in 29 games in 2012 for the Orioles.

Tolleson played 109 games for Toronto in 2014, but last year was an unhappy one with the Blue Jays. He played just 19 games, none after May.

Interestingly, the Orioles have another utility infielder on the 40-man roster, Rey Navarro. He filled in when Flaherty and Schoop were both on the disabled list, and hit .276 in 10 games.

Norfolk manager Ron Johnson spoke favorably of Navarro’s play in September, but he didn’t get a call to join the team. Instead, he went to Sarasota in case he was needed.

Navarro divided his time between short and second with the Tides.

MORE ORIOLES: Tommy Hunter drawing interest in free agent market

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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