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Orioles searching everywhere for outfielders


Orioles searching everywhere for outfielders

The Orioles have seven outfielders on their 40-man roster. Adam Jones and six others. Dariel Alvarez, L.J. Hoes, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia are the others.

How many of those six will open the season with the Orioles? How many will be there when spring training begins.

The Orioles added Hoes to the mix on Wednesday. It was a positive move because as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette put it, Hoes is a “good teammate [and] very popular.”

I was taken aback when I looked up Hoes’ Orioles stats to find that he’d played only three games with the team before his July 2013 trade to Houston for Bud Norris. It seemed as if Hoes, like another popular teammate, T.J. McFarland, was around more often that he actually was.

Hoes never got a chance to play regularly with the Astros, and played in just eight games, none after July.

At 25, there’s plenty of time left for Hoes to establish himself in the area he grew up.

Hoes is out of options, but so are several of the others.

It’s obvious that the Orioles will try to stockpile outfielders because it’s likely that none of the six besides Jones is a probable Opening Day starter.

A few of them may drop off the roster, perhaps even in the next several days as the Orioles near Wednesday night’s deadline for tendering contracts. Lough and Reimold are eligible for arbitration, and it’s far from a certainty that both will be retained—at least for now.

At this time last year, the Orioles were in the process of losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. At the Winter Meetings, Duquette spoke highly of Alvarez several times.

Alvarez ended up spending nearly all the season in the minors, and played in just 12 games, and started just twice in the last 18.

Urrutia has a .272 average in 34 games in 2013 and 2015, but he was sent to Norfolk when Alvarez was called up in late August and never returned.

Lake got in eight games after being obtained from the Chicago Cubs for Tommy Hunter, and was challenged in playing center.

As for Lough, he was designated for assignment in August and returned with just days to play in the season after Jones injured his back.

Reimold is probably the best bet to come back because the Orioles like his work ethic, and last year proved he could stay healthy all season, but like Hoes, he’s not likely to be a starter.

He has one great talent. Reimold has a good batting eye, and last year had a .344 on-base percentage, which isn’t bad for a player who hit nearly 100 points lower.

Only Chris Davis and Manny Machado, who played much more had higher OBPs.

The Orioles will continue to be linked with all sorts of outfielders, from Alex Gordon to their own Gerardo Parra.

One report indicated that they were reluctant to offer Parra more than a two-year deal. It was probably unrealistic to think that Parra was going to continue at the .328 pace he hit at with Milwaukee. He’d never hit above .290 in the majors.

But, the Orioles were disappointed when Parra hit just .237 in his first go around in the American League. His questionable throws weren’t what they expected, either.

Parra was their second highest basestealer with five in 55 games, and if they don’t sign or trade for someone better, he wouldn’t be an awful choice.

There’s been more talk about Parra than Steve Pearce. The assumption is that the Orioles have higher priorities than this other popular teammate, and they don’t want to overpay for him.

Pearce had a surprising 2014 season, then reverted to a .218 average, but he did hit 15 home runs in 92 games. He could help at first base, depending on who’s signed or traded for.

What’s clear is that other than Alvarez, there aren’t any major league ready outfielders in the system, and the Cuban defector is already 27.

The Winter Meetings will be rife with reports on outfielders, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Orioles selected one in the Dec. 10 Rule 5 draft.

NOTE: Norris signed with Atlanta on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see if he can recapture his 2014 magic next season. The Orioles play the Braves in the Grapefruit League opener on March 1 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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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."