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What are realistic expectations for Chris Davis?

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What are realistic expectations for Chris Davis?

Perhaps today Chris Davis’ contract will become official. The slugger has been taking a physical, and the Orioles hope to announce what is by far the biggest contract in team history today.

Davis’ contract is a huge story, but the impending snowstorm is a bigger one, and for the moment, it will serve as a happy distraction to the hardship that’s about to come.

Four weeks from today, pitchers and catchers will report to Sarasota for the beginning of spring training, and while we’re digging out from the predicted foot or two of snow this weekend, my colleagues and I are certain to remind you of that.

Davis will return to Texas after the expected press conference, and he’ll resume his preparations for the 2016 season.

For years to come, and maybe decades, this and future generations of Orioles fans will debate this contract’s worthiness. If Davis has another good season or three, the contract talk will die down.

But, first let’s examine just how unusual Davis’ seasons have been.

His 53 home runs in 2013 were the 26th most in a single season. Hank Aaron never even hit 50 in a season.

Davis will turn 30 in March, and of the 43 seasons in which a batter has hit 50 or more home runs, 20 of them were by a batter who was 30 or older.

One of them was Brady Anderson, who was 32 when he hit 50 in 1996 to set the Orioles’ previous team record.

Several of those with multiple 50 home run seasons, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, who have the top six totals in history, are rightfully viewed with suspicion.

But, Ken Griffey, Jr., who was voted into the Hall of Fame earlier this month, who had no steroids taint whatsoever, had consecutive seasons of 56 homers in 1996 and 1997.
Davis has led the majors in home runs two of the past three years, and he’ll try and lead it in consecutive years. Not since Jose Bautista (2010-11) has a batter led the majors in consecutive year.

Counting Nelson Cruz’s 40 home runs in 2014, the Orioles will try and become the first team to have the major league leader in home runs for four consecutive years in more than 60 years. Pittsburgh’s Ralph Kiner led the majors in home runs from 1947-52.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Davis is that he’ll try too hard to live up to his huge contract. He’ll want to cut down on his strikeouts. His 208 last year was the fifth most in baseball history.

Hopefully, Orioles fans will be realistic. The odds are he won’t hit 50 home runs again. But, if Davis can give the Orioles two or three seasons of 40 or more in the coming seven, fans won’t keep bringing up Albert Belle’s contract.

[RELATED: Plenty of candidates for final Orioles bullpen spot]

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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