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Orioles' five biggest underachievers of the first half


Orioles' five biggest underachievers of the first half

The Orioles’ first half was marked with significant disappointments. There were injuries galore, though with Wesley Wright’s removal from the 60-day disabled list and designation for assignment, only Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia remains on the DL.

Who were the most significant disappointments of the first half?

1) Bud Norris

Perhaps Norris wasn’t expected to duplicate his 15 wins from last season, but his 2-9 and 6.86 ERA in the first half was an abomination.

Norris will be a free agent this fall, and if he could have come close to replicating 2014’s stats, he could have gotten a three-year contract worth perhaps $40 million.

Now, he’ll be fortunate to get a one-year major league contract at half his current $8.8 million.

Things began going south after his first spring training start, which didn’t go well, and manager Buck Showalter suggested he needed some prodding.

Later in spring, he nearly was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. His awful spring didn’t get any better once the regular season started and he became infected with bronchitis.

Norris’ rehab assignment went longer than expected, and eventually lost his place in the starting rotation.

He was responsible for one of the better Orioles quotes of the season. After a rehab outing at Norfolk, Norris was asked about his next move. “You tell me and I’ll let you know. This Showalter guy, he keeps all of his chess pieces close, so I have no idea,” he said.

2) Steve Pearce

One of last year’s biggest surprises is one of 2015’s biggest disappointments. Pearce hit 21 home runs last year and batted .293.

This year, he’s hitting just .228 with seven homers.

Pearce is another one of the Orioles’ seven possible free agents, and like Norris, he may be costing himself a multi-year contract.

Unlike Norris, he’s been healthy all season. His attitude and work ethic are outstanding, and he’s well-liked by his teammates. He just hasn’t produced the way the Orioles were hoping. For $3.7 million, the Orioles were expecting more.

3) Chris Tillman

The Orioles were expecting Tillman to continue as their clear No. 1 starter, but he had an awful first two months of the season.

He hasn’t lost since May, and while he’s won his last four decisions, Tillman is still 6-7 with a 5.40 ERA.

The best news for Tillman is that Matt Wieters is back, and no one knows Tillman like Wieters. In the six Tillman starts that Wieters has caught, he’s struck out 22 and walked seven, and hasn’t lost any.

Ryan Lavarnway caught him three times, and Tillman walked 11 and struck out six.

Talk of an extension has ceased, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Tillman continued trending up in the second half.

4) Alejandro De Aza

There was some chatter last fall that the Orioles weren’t going to tender De Aza a contract. In the end, they did, and they regret it.

De Aza became just the second Oriole to take the team to arbitration in Dan Duquette’s four years, and he lost, but ended up with $5 million.

He batted just .214 in 30 games before he was designated for assignment and eventually traded to Boston for minor league pitcher Joe Gunkel.

The Red Sox are paying $1 million of the $3 million owed, leaving the Orioles to pay $2 million.

While De Aza is hitting .323 in 31 games for the Red Sox, there didn’t seem to be any room for him with the Orioles.

5) Everth Cabrera

When Cabrera was signed in February, the move was heralded as insurance in case of injuries. In fact, three infielders, Ryan Flaherty, J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop, all spent time on the disabled list, and Cabrera was gone before all were back.

There was no demand for Cabrera, who had criminal charges in California pending yet the Orioles signed him for $2.4 million.

Cabrera made three errors in 27 games at shortstop when Hardy was hurt. He wasn’t awful in the field, but his bat was nonexistent, hitting just .208 with two extra-base hits in 29 games.

He didn’t get much of a chance to show off his speed and had just two stolen bases.

Two years ago, Cabrera was somehow a National League All-Star. A day after the All-Star Game and more than a month after his release, he’s still looking for work.


Lough is one of the fastest baserunners on the team, but has managed to be thrown out in four of his five stolen base attempts. He hit a dramatic homer against Boston in April, but little else.

McFarland has a 2.70 ERA yet has averaged more than two baserunners an inning. The Orioles still have high hopes for him.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles designate lefty for assignment upon return from DL

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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