The Orioles dont want to talk about it. They still have 15 games left in the regular season.But, the postseason is a little over two weeks from now, and its time for us to talk.They havent clinched anything but a winning season. Six months ago, that would have been cause for celebration. Now, they want more, much more.The Orioles still trail the Yankees by a half-game, but theyve played them even this season, splitting 18 games.Theres no reason the Orioles cant beat out New York for the AL East title, but if the teams are tied for the AL East title, there would be a one-game playoff at Oriole Park on Oct. 4, assuming the Orioles have a better record against division opponents.If the Orioles beat out the Yankees, theyll advance to the division series. Thats best three of five. Currently, the Orioles have a better record than AL Central leader Chicago, but a worse record than the top team in the AL West, Texas.The Orioles would play their first two games at Chicago on Oct. 6-7 and return to Baltimore for up to three games Oct. 9-11.If the Orioles dont catch the Yankees and continue to trail Oakland in the wild card chase, they d play a one-game playoff at the O.co.Coliseum on Oct. 5. In order to capture the top wild card spot, the Orioles have to beat out the Athletics. Since Oakland won the season series, theyll get home field advantage if theres a tie.The Orioles have lost 16 of their last 19 games in Oakland.If they beat out the Athletics, but fail to best the Yankees, the Orioles host the wild card playoff game on Oct. 5.If the Orioles would beat Oakland, they would return home to face the division winner with the best record, Texas on Oct 7-8. Up to three games would be played at Rangers Stadium from Oct. 10-12.The winners of the two division series meet in the American League Championship Series from Oct. 13-21. If the Orioles were AL East division champs, they would host the first two and if necessary, the last two games on Oct 13-14 and 20-21.If the Orioles were the wild card team, they would host Games 3,4 and 5 on Oct. 16-18.The World Series picture is clearer. If the Orioles were AL champs for the first time since 1983, they get games 3, 4 and 5 at home on Oct. 27-29. Home field advantage in the World Series goes to the National League because of their win in the All-Star Game.The World Series begins on Oct. 24 in the National League city.While Orioles players dont want to talk about this publicly, the teams front office is busily preparing. Tickets have been printed, season ticket holders invoiced and promotions to sell season tickets for next season have been tied in with this years postseason. There will be a public sale on Saturday morning of remaining tickets.If youre buying tickets, the Orioles have set prices at between 20-100 for the wild card and Division series.Ticket prices for the League Championship Series and World Series are set by Major League Baseball. LCS tickets are between 40 and 175 and 70-305 for the World Series.Fans watching on television will notice a change, too. There wont be any local telecasts. Wild card games will be broadcast by TBS. The Division Series will be broadcast mainly by TBS, though on days with four games, the MLB Network will air one of the four.The ALCS will be shown by TBS, the NLCS is on FOX. The World Series will be shown on FOX.Fans who might be confused by this new format should be thankful. Without the addition of a second wild card team, the Orioles chances would be lessened.Manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette are excitedly making their own preparations. Showalter is allowing Miguel Gonzalez some rest so that he can be fresh for the postseason, and hes hoping that Jason Hammel can come back, too.The Orioles can use only 25 players in the postseason, and those rosters can be changed for each playoff series. Showalter has undoubtedly been experimenting with multiple combinations. The team is currently carrying 16 pitchers and will probably have four fewer on a postseason roster.The team has 35 active players, though two of them, Nick Markakis and Wilson Betemit, are hurt. The Orioles hope Markakis, who has a broken left thumb, could be back if they advance deep into the playoffs.Troy Patton and Jim Thome may be activated from the disabled list later this week and could be useful additions for the postseason.
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.
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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."
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."