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MacPhail would be solid choice for Phillies


MacPhail would be solid choice for Phillies

BALTIMORE --- Eight years ago this week, the Orioles made one of the best moves in franchise history. They named Andy MacPhail as their president of baseball operations.

As my friend and colleague Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, reported on Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies may soon do the same.

MacPhail, who has been out of baseball since Oct. 2011, wouldn’t be in the same position as he was in Baltimore, but he would have many of the same problems.

When MacPhail took over, the Orioles had a few pieces. Nick Markakis was in his second season, Zach Britton and Jim Johnson were in the minor leagues, but little else was there.

Matt Wieters had just been drafted, but with Scott Boras as his agent and a much more draftee-friendly system in place, it was no certainty that he would sign with the Orioles.

MacPhail successfully negotiated with Boras, who had a tenuous relationship with the team, and gave Wieters a huge contract. The Orioles had arguably the best catcher in their history. Two years later, MacPhail would wisely delay Wieters promotion until late May, giving him, one more season, which turned out to be this one, with the Orioles.

He traded for Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Chris Tillman, drafted Manny Machado and picked Buck Showalter to manage the team.

[RELATED Orioles will activate Parmelee on Tuesday

MacPhail also traded Miguel Tejada, whose contract, then the largest in team history, was considered unmovable. He got some useful players in return, too.

Perhaps most important, MacPhail extracted the Orioles from the worst spring training facility in baseball, Fort Lauderdale, and negotiated the move to Sarasota. He also markedly improved the facility and vastly upgraded the team’s minor league facility.

MacPhail left the Orioles in good hands with Showalter and his successor Dan Duquette, but his father was in ill health and wanted to spend time with him.

He also tired of the day-to-day grind of being a general manager, and with the Phillies, MacPhail would have more of the role he had with the Chicago Cubs.

MacPhail still lives in the Baltimore area, and he could attack the Phillies problems patiently, though their fans might demand more immediate action.

The Phils have lots of bloated contracts (Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Chase Utley), and MacPhail would work diligently, though not hurriedly to rid the team of them.

With their record, they could well have the top draft pick next year, and he’ll have to start restocking the farm system.

He has some front office personnel he’s familiar with. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock and director of player development Joe Jordan both worked for him with the Orioles. So did special assignment scout Dave Hollins.

And, if he wants to make a managerial change, he has Juan Samuel, who was the Orioles’ interim manager before Showalter arrived.

MacPhail is content to let others take the credit for successes, and with his record of accomplishment with the Twins, Cubs and Orioles, his resume is an impressive one.

The Phillies would be lucky to have him.

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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

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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