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Orioles know they still need to add a starter


Orioles know they still need to add a starter

While the Orioles appear ready to finally move on from Chris Davis and onto Yoenis Cespedes, there’s another area that needs to be addressed in the five weeks before spring training begins.

Yes, it’s starting pitching.

Two of the Orioles incumbent starters, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman were at the minicamp, though they didn’t throw. Kevin Gausman, who was present last year and Ubaldo Jimenez weren’t.

They still need a fifth starter.

One of the candidates, Vance Worley, was invited, but he declined.

Unless Worley had some pressing personal business, he missed an opportunity to get some valuable time with pitching coach Dave Wallace.

If Worley can recapture what he had with Philadelphia in 2011 when he won 11 games as a fifth starter in a terrific rotation, he could be a great help.

Tyler Wilson will be given a chance at the job, but he made need more seasoning, and the Orioles bullpen may not have many openings—maybe as few as one if Dylan Bundy is healthy and Brian Matusz isn’t traded.

The Orioles have pursued other starters and continue to be interested in Yovani Gallardo, who is probably the best of the available bunch.

RELATED: Are the Orioles ready to move on from Chris Davis?

They don’t seem terribly eager to give up their first round draft pick for Gallardo and haven’t shown any interest in Ian Kennedy, who the Royals are talking with. Gallardo’s other suitors appear to be Houston, Kansas City and now Toronto, but if the Royals sign Kennedy, they’re probably done for this cycle.

There are still a number of starting pitchers available, but most of them are older and have injury issues. Two that the Orioles have had interest in are Doug Fister and Mat Latos.

Fister will be 32 next month, and struggled to a 5-7 record with the Nationals, but in 2014, he went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA.

Latos had an awful 2015, with a 4-10 record with a 4.95 ERA for three teams. He was 28-11 for Cincinnati in 2012-13 and at 28, is one of the younger pitchers on the market.

There are some other interesting names on the available starting pitcher list. Three are former Orioles: Jeremy Guthrie, Alfredo Simon and Randy Wolf.

Guthrie started Buck Showalter’s first game as Orioles manager, and it’s a pretty safe bet he’s not on the Orioles wish list now.

Simon was mostly a reliever in his time with the Orioles, and was waived in the spring of 2012. He’s won 28 games as a starter for the Reds and Tigers the last two years, and suddenly, he’s 34.

Wolf pitched briefly for the Orioles in 2012, and after Tommy John surgery, returned to the organization for a time in 2014. He’s a left-hander, but he’s now 39.

Other names of note still available are Bronson Arroyo, who the Orioles showed interest in a few years back, Aaron Harang, Josh Johnson, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Kyle Lohse and Justin Masterson.

Trivia buffs will remember that Lincecum won three World Series and two Cy Youngs after being selected with the 10th pick of the 2006 draft. He was taken immediately after the Orioles selected Billy Rowell and one pick before Arizona took Max Scherzer.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles, Brach agree on one-year, $1.25 million deal

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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."