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Trumbo addition means more certainty for Orioles

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Trumbo addition means more certainty for Orioles

Let’s look at the Mark Trumbo acquisition practically. The Orioles now have six certain starters for nine positions. That’s two more than they had three weeks ago.

With Chris Davis, Gerardo Parra, Steve Pearce and Matt Wieters possible free agents, the Orioles had just four secure positions following last season: J.J. Hardy (shortstop), Adam Jones (center field), Manny Machado (third base) and Jonathan Schoop (second base.)

When Wieters surprisingly accepted the team’s qualifying offer that secured the fifth. It also freed up Steve Clevenger for a trade because the Orioles didn’t need a third catcher.

Clevenger is heading to Seattle for Trumbo and another player whose name will be revealed shortly.

The natural inclination is to think Trumbo will be Davis’ replacement at first base, and he may well be, but the new acquisition can play any of the four positions the Orioles don’t have an obvious starter for: first, left field, right field and designated hitter.

Six certain starters is better than five.

Trumbo’s 2016 will probably be a one-off for the Orioles, but that’s fine. He’ll likely make about $9 million, and with his power hitting resume (four seasons of 20 or more home runs, three of 80-plus RBIs), Trumbo should be an attractive commodity in 2016.

He’ll at the least add some free agent drama to next fall’s Orioles rumblings. At the moment, Trumbo, Wieters and Brian Matusz are the only 2016 free agents on the Orioles.

At the most, Trumbo will hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs, which is what the Orioles expect from Davis.

RELATED: Orioles set to reel in power hitting Trumbo

How does Trumbo’s acquisition impact the club’s pursuit of Davis?

They’ll continue to try and sign him, but they realize that Davis’ agent, Scott Boras has the power and often waits a long, long time before he has his client choose a place to sign.

Do the Orioles want to wait until Jan. 20 to decide on who plays first base? I don’t think so.

The Orioles still badly want Davis, and they still need an outfielder or two, but at least they don’t have to convince their fans that they haven’t been active this offseason.

Davis’ market hasn’t developed, yet, but that doesn’t bother Boras. Most teams are chasing free agent starters, and so are the Orioles, but not David Price, who agreed to a seven-year, $213 million contract with Boston on Tuesday.

St. Louis, which was also a rumored destination for Price, is rumored as a suitor. So is Boston, but can even the Red Sox afford Price and Davis?

According to Baseballreference.com, the Red Sox’s payroll for 2016 is estimated at $169.2 million—and that is without Price’s salary.

Boston will be eager to peddle some of the team’s higher salaries, but I can’t see the Orioles taking Hanley Ramirez’s $22.75 million contract for the next three years—even with some help.

Houston, which is apparently eager to shed Chris Carter, another big homer, big strikeout guy, would seem a likely destination for Davis, but an industry source says that the Astros don’t want to take on a mega-contract.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees swoop in and try and sign Davis. When the Orioles were interested in Mark Teixeira seven years ago, and made a reasonable offer for him, Brian Cashman quietly made a deal with Boras, who represented Tex at that time.

The Yankees are making all the right noises about building from within and being responsible with their payroll, but they can still pay Davis more than the Orioles can.

Trumbo strikes out often. Last year, he struck out 136 times in 142 games, but while Davis struck out 208 times, more than anyone else in the majors, he did walk 84 times.

Davis’ on-base percentage of .361 last year dwarfs Trumbo’s .310, which was almost exactly the Orioles’ team average.

Seattle’s replacement for Trumbo is set to be Nori Aoki, who the Orioles discussed as a free agent both last year and this.

But, the Orioles will be looking for a player like Aoki to play the outfield. He’s a player who can get on base and run, and that’s something the team needs much more of.

As for Clevenger, he’ll be missed. He’s an enjoyable, upbeat guy who enjoyed playing in his hometown. Last year, he became the first Baltimore-bred player to hit a home run in Oriole Park.

He worked hard to improve his catching, and could have helped out as a left-handed DH, but with Wieters and Caleb Joseph on the 2016 club, would have had few chances to play in the field.

Today promises more action. It’s the deadline to tender contracts, and once Trumbo’s addition becomes official, the Orioles will have 12 to offer.  

MORE ORIOLES: Losing for better draft picks is not sound strategy

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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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."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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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