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Should Brach be the man to set up Britton?


Should Brach be the man to set up Britton?

Later today, the Orioles will announce the players they’ve given qualifying offers. Darren O’Day won’t be among them, and at midnight, he’ll be free to accept offers from other teams.

O’Day may be the best reliever on the market, and when he leaves the Orioles, he’ll be hard to replace.

The Orioles will look to fortify their bullpen this offseason. Even if O’Day stays, which is rather unlikely, they’ll have to find additional help.

There are two internal candidates to replace O’Day as Zach Britton’ set-up man: Brad Brach and Mychal Givens.

Let’s take a look at Brach.

In one of Dan Duquette’s best, least talked about trades, he snatched Brach away from the San Diego Padres in Nov. 2013 for Devin Jones, a minor league pitcher who found himself back to the Orioles organization this season.

Brach was a disappointment to manager Bud Black in San Diego. He struck out more than 10 batters per nine innings, but walked five.

With the Orioles, Brach has been quietly effective. In his two years, he’s 12-4 with a 2.92 ERA. While he still walks four batters per nine innings, Brach allows just 6.7 hits per nine, and his WHIP is 1.186. Brach continues to strike out more than a batter per inning.

In his two years here, Brach has shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Often, it seems that he gets the win when the team mounts an exciting comeback.

Manager Buck Showalter remarked several times that Brach had a better year in 2015 than in 2014, but looking at one key stat, it’s probably best if he stays in the sixth or seventh inning role.

In nearly a quarter of his appearances (15 of 62), Brach pitched at least two innings. He threw 79 1/3 innings, easily the most among relievers.

Brach also has a maddening tendency to allow inherited runners to score. While some fans have criticized Brian Matusz, who allowed 17 of 46 inherited runners to score, they don’t realize Brach allowed 17 of 29 to score.

In Givens’ limited chances, he allowed just two of 13 inherited runners to score.

Brach is eligible for arbitration this year. He’ll get a nice bump up from $523,000.

As the Orioles look for a new setup man, Brach will probably continue to do nicely, setting up that setup man.

MORE ORIOLES: Can the Orioles depend on Ubaldo Jimenez?

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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."