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Orioles have six free agents; How many will be back?


Orioles have six free agents; How many will be back?

Barring a miracle, this iteration of the Orioles will end in 23 games.
At the end of the season, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters all become free agents.

It would be a surprise if any returned.

Besides those three, Darren O’Day, Gerardo Parra and Steve Pearce can also depart.

What are the chances they’ll be back? Who could replace them?


For the second time in as many years, the Orioles could lose the major league home run king via free agency.

A year ago, Nelson Cruz left for a four-year contract. Davis should beat that.

Davis won’t be 30 until next year, and with his 22 home runs and 51 RBIs in second half games, he’s gotten hot at the right time.

Last month, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a talk to season ticket holders that the Orioles wanted to re-sign Davis.

Davis has consistently avoided contract talk this season, and it’s highly questionable that the Orioles could outbid others.

WHERE DOES HE GO?: The Astros, Red Sox and even the Yankees could give him a five-year deal in the $100 million area.

WHO REPLACES HIM?: There’s no likely first baseman on the major league roster. Christian Walker and Trey Mancini are highly thought of, but Walker has little major league experience, and Mancini hasn’t played above Double-A.

Besides Davis, it’s an unimpressive lot of free agent first basemen out there. The Orioles are likely to trade for a 2016 first baseman and hope that Walker or Mancini are the long-term answers.


Had Wieters not had Tommy John surgery last year, he could have eclipsed Russell Martin’s five-year, $82 million deal from last year.

Because he hasn’t often caught on consecutive days since returning in June, some have questioned whether he’ll get more than a three-year contract.

Wieters, Chen and Davis will all refuse qualifying offers by the Orioles.

There will only be a handful of catchers on the market and Scott Boras, who represents Chen, Davis and Wieters, will be able to cash in.

WHERE DOES HE GO?: The smart money is on Atlanta, where Wieters lives in the off-season, but the Diamondbacks and White Sox desperately need catching and could add a fourth or five year.

WHO REPLACES HIM?: Caleb Joseph is a reasonable choice, and Steve Clevenger has impressed since his return. Clevenger may be useful in other positions, so it’s likely the Orioles add a veteran catcher, too.


The Orioles would like to have Davis back and are resigned to Wieters’ leaving, but there seems to be almost no likelihood that Chen will be back.

The Orioles have nurtured Chen, trying to rest him. He rebelled in June when they briefly sent him to Frederick to try and keep him fresh.

In his first four major league years, Chen has a 43-31 record with a sub-4 ERA. He’s struck out more than three times as many batters as he’s walked.

The $15.466 million he’s earned in the four years is a bargain, and he could approach that total in annual salary on a three-year deal.

WHERE COULD HE GO?: The market is full of big name pitchers: Johnny Cueto, Zack Grienke, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann are the stars.

Chen could fit into the second tier with teams that miss out on one of the bigger names.

Arizona, San Diego, Texas, both Los Angeles teams and Seattle could work for Chen.

WHO REPLACES HIM?: The Orioles don’t have another left-handed starter close to major league ready, so they’ll have to trade for one or sign another free age


Parra was having a career year when he was traded to the Orioles on July 31, but he’s scuffled since.

Without him, the Orioles having a gaping hole in right field, and as Buck Showalter would say, they’ll have to spend all winter looking for a player like him.

WHERE DOES HE GO?: The guessing here is the Orioles re-sign him for a four-year deal at $40 million.


O’Day has been brilliant during his time with the Orioles, but one area the team has excelled at is acquiring and developing relievers.

In his four years with the Orioles, O’Day is 23-8 with a 1.97 ERA and struck out nearly four times as many as he’s walked.

Look for a three-year deal at perhaps $18-20 million.

WHERE DOES HE GO?: O’Day likes the area, and the Nationals need relievers.

WHO REPLACES HIM?: The Orioles have Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Chaz Roe, but O’Day will still be missed.

MORE ORIOLES Orioles go home happy with second straight win, 5-3


After a terrific 2014 and a less-than-stellar 2015, Pearce could re-sign with the Orioles, say on a one-year, $4 million deal. If someone offers him two years, he’s gone.

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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."