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Reimold vs. Pearce choice was easy


Reimold vs. Pearce choice was easy

Late on Wednesday night, the Orioles avoided arbitration with Nolan Reimold, signing him to a one-year, $1.3 million contract.

That wasn’t necessarily a popular move with some fans, who have made the gentle Reimold into a polarizing figure in Baltimore.

Last year, Reimold completed a relatively healthy season, playing in a combined 115 games in Norfolk and with the Orioles, his most since 2011.

The Orioles don’t view him as a regular, but he had a .344 on-base percentage in 61 games, trailing only Chris Davis and Manny Machado.

Reimold has a good batting eye and while he’s not the power threat he was before his neck injuries, he still hit six homers. He’s a usefuL player.

The Orioles desperately need left-handed hitting, and if Chris Davis signs elsewhere, the need grows more desperate.

As a result, it’s likely that we’ve seen the last of Steve Pearce, at least for now.

Pearce does some things that Reimold doesn’t. He can fill in at first base, and hit 21 home runs in 2014, but there are some similarities.

Both have had injury-marred careers, both have worked diligently to return, and both play left field. And, they hit right-handed. They’re also the same age, 32.

Because Pearce had the breakout year in 2014 when he hit .293 and had an outstanding .373 OBP, he was hoping to cash in as a free agent this year.

But, Pearce felll back to a .218 average in 92 games. After making $3.7 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility, Pearce wanted his first multi-year contract. He may not get it.

Not only do the Orioles have Reimold as a right-handed hitting option in the outfield, they also have the recently re-acquired L.J. Hoes and Dariel Alvarez to serve as backups, too. Pearce would make four.

If Pearce doesn’t find a taker, and there’s been no chatter about him so far, then it’s not beyond the realm of conception that he’s a late signee. Pearce is very popular with his teammates and with manager Buck Showalter.

He’s just not worth that much more than Reimold.

The Darren O’Day sweepstakes may soon be coming to an end, and the question is whether I’ll continue to have the pleasure of covering him—or will my friend and colleague Mark Zuckerman have the fun instead?

O’Day’s final choices are between the Orioles and Nationals, and if he somehow chooses to remain in Baltimore, it will be a powerful statement on the influence of Showalter.

Showalter and new Nationals manager Dusty Baker are two of the most popular managers among players. O’Day is eternally grateful for Showalter’s guidance.

Under Buck, O’Day has become one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, and while the sense is that he’d really like to stay with the Orioles, the Nationals may be offering enough to make a substantial difference.

When Mariano Rivera announced his retirement, his longtime manager, Joe Torre, said: “He basically made my career.”

I think it’s fair to say that Showalter, and he wouldn’t ever say it, has basically made O’Day’s career.

Prior to coming to Baltimore, O’Day was a solid, if underappreciated sidearmer with Texas.

Thanks to Showalter’s loving care, O’Day has posted an astounding 23-8 record with a 1.92 ERA in four seasons with a WHIP of .0939. He’s played on two postseason clubs, and become a clubhouse leader, a rarity for a reliever.

O’Day’s decision may be followed by one from Wei-Yin Chen on his next destination.

With David Price and Zack Greinke expectedly receiving eye-popping contracts, Chen, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija and some others will cash in from clubs such as the Dodgers, Giants and Cardinals, who lost out on Price and Greinke.

Jordan Zimmermann, who is in that class, signed last weekend with Detroit.

As for Davis, it’s been pretty quiet, and his agent, Scott Boras, may hold him out for an extended time to try and extract the best deal. Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Heyward and Justin Upton are probably the premier position players, and other than a few catchers signing, it appears that that market hasn’t gathered steam, yet.

It will as the Winter Meetings get underway on Sunday in Nashville.

The Orioles will be linked with dozens of players, and some of the reports may actually be true.

One signing that escaped notice around here was Jim Johnson’s return to Atlanta. Johnson, who the Orioles traded two years ago because they didn’t want to pay him $10 million, has been with four teams since then.

The Braves are the only one Johnson has had some success with, and after a disastrous few months with the Dodgers, he signed a one-year contract for $2.5 million.

MORE ORIOLES: Garcia could have bright future with 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

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