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Making the case for the Orioles to sign Dexter Fowler


Making the case for the Orioles to sign Dexter Fowler

I’ve had three months to think about Yovani Gallardo. Dexter Fowler, not very long.

In this long, action-packed offseason where the Orioles have been mentioned with so many free agents, there’s plenty of time to delve into free agents’ stats and backgrounds.

Gallardo’s name has come up almost since the start of free agency. It’s just that Fowler’s hasn’t. 

It’s long been assumed the Orioles wanted to keep their draft choices, and having the 14th pick in the draft was a valuable one.

After all, it doesn’t appear the Orioles came up with much in the 2014 draft, and Dan Duquette knows a team must grow its own to be a perennial contender.

When the Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, they didn’t have a draft pick until the third round when they selected high school pitcher Brian Gonzalez, who has struggled in the low minors. Fourth round pick Pat Connaughton is trying to prove that he can play in the NBA for the Portland Trail Blazers. While fifth rounder David Hess has impressed, the Orioles need more than that from their first four rounds.

This year was an opportunity to stockpile draft picks with six in the first 91 choices. Many in the organization thought that besides Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters would depart, giving the Orioles even more chances to draft young talent.

Instead, Davis and Wieters are back, and perhaps Gallardo and Fowler.

The Orioles have an opportunity to challenge in a questionable American League East in 2016 and 2017 since if they sign Gallardo and Fowler, only Wieters and Mark Trumbo from this year’s team isn’t under club control for next year.

Fowler’s plusses are many. He’s an ideal leadoff hitter for the Orioles who are currently without one. He has a lifetime .363 on-base percentage, far above their team average. Fowler stole 20 bases last year. In 2015, only Manny Machado stole as many.

Last year, he played 156 games, and even though he’s played only one inning in the majors in right field, Fowler should be able to slide over and complement Adam Jones.

He also serves as insurance in case Jones again misses time. There isn’t a legitimate backup center fielder on the team. 

With Hyun-soo Kim, who’s new to U.S. baseball assumed to be the left fielder, it would take a lot of pressure off Jones to have an accomplished fielder in right.

And, Fowler also strikes out a lot, 154 times in 2015, so he should feel comfortable with the aggressive Orioles.

Fowler, who played only one year in the American League, 2014 with Houston, has played six games in Baltimore, and has a .217 average (5-for-23).

As for the draft, I guess there’s always 2017.

MORE ORIOLES: Is this 2014 all over again for the Orioles?

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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