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Jones likes direction Orioles are heading


Jones likes direction Orioles are heading

SARASOTA, Fla. – Adam Jones is eager to see how the Orioles will look when Dexter Fowler joins the team. Fowler will give manager Buck Showalter lots of different alternatives.

“I’ve created like 10 mock lineups with him, with him in the lineup with him out [of] the lineup. I see him leading it off, you’ve got [Manny] Machado, [Chris Davis] or me, flip us. You can put Machado in three, too. You can put me at two. You can do a lot of different things. You’ve got [Mark] Trumbo, [Matt] Wieters, and then let’s not forget [Hyun-soo] Kim, [Jonathan] Schoop and J.J. [Hardy],” Jones said.

“Showalter is going to [have] a headache deciding where to put people. At the end of the day, he’s not going to disrespect anybody if he puts them fifth with the lineup we’ve got. I think we’re pushing for the best lineup in baseball.”

Jones likes the team that’s been assembled. He’s played with most of them for several years, and likes their age and maturity.

“If you look at it, a lot of the ages are that 25-32 range. These are the years we need to do something. We have a great mix of the young talent with the veteran talent, and the young talent acts like veteran talent. I just think this is a good time for us. We have a good team. We just need to get through this camp, play good ball in spring training, get through the things that we need to get to, and knock on wood the season just goes the way it did in 2014,” Jones said.

Jones said he wanted an audience with managing partner Peter Angelos. He got results.

Not only are Davis, Wieters and Darren O’Day back, but the team has agreements with Fowler and Yovani Gallardo, although that one has been held up by a questionable physical.

“All you can do is ask, man. As a player, you want what you want. Trust me, there are tons of guys I want on my team. I love every guy on my team now,” Jones said.

“My message to the front office was to keep the core intact. We have a good core…I think fans need to understand, you just can’t go out and sign anybody you want. First and foremost, they have to play for Buck Showalter. That ain’t an easy guy to play for, so you don’t know who you’re getting. If you get a different type of player, Showalter might ship him on out.”

Jones, who has three seasons remaining on his contract thought the team set its priorities correctly.

“It’s a process. First of all, I’m glad we got O’Day and Davis back. Those were the two most important guys. I don’t know about the uncertainty about Gallardo, but I know we’ve got Fowler, so I think we’re just constantly improving and not just improving on the field, but mentally,” Jones said.

“Both of them have been in the postseason, been in big games, big moments, so we want to have them do it with us.”

The Orioles have been one of the best home run hitting teams in baseball for several years, and could be again.

“Fowler’s got some pop, especially in our ballpark. If it gets warm, he can hit some out there. Trumbo? I’m excited to see him hit in our ballpark,” Jones said.

“I’m excited. I want to see Kim in our ballpark. He’s a strong guy. I want to see him drive the ball into our bullpen area where it flies. That’s six weeks away from now? I don’t want to jump the gun, but I think this clubhouse is excited for the season. I’ve thought about, but first we’ve got to get there and get through this spring training healthy.”

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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."

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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."