Since the Orioles feel confident enough to send out invoices for playoff tickets now and that a postseason berth in 2012 seems in hand, lets look ahead to 2013.Who will be on the roster for next year? Buck Showalter sometimes channels Bill Parcells, who coached the Dallas Cowboys when Showalter was managing the Texas Rangers. Thats what you lift those weights for, Showalter likes to say, echoing Parcells.The old NFL coach believed in churning his roster, and as Peter King wrote in his current weekly si.com column, Parcells used to spend half his time thinking about the final five spots on his roster.Showalter spends nearly every minute thinking about his team and how to improve it. Just because Omar Quintanilla has been a find at second base and Nate McLouth an unexpected joy in left field doesnt mean that theyll be at those positions next yearor even next month.If we can do something that makes us two inches better to have a chance to win the last 49 games, were going to do it, Showalter said earlier this month.After many had written off Taylor Teagarden for this year, Showalter remained hopeful. Teagarden was sidelined for more than four months with a back injury and didnt play until after the All-Star break.He felt Teagarden was a better catcher than Ronny Paulino. In his first game, Teagarden won it in the 13th inning with a home run.But, just because Teagarden is here this year doesnt mean hell back up Matt Wieters next year.The unofficial bottom five on the roster shouldnt expect to return next year: pitchers Kevin Gregg and J.C. Romero, McLouth, outfielder Lew Ford and infielder Robert Andino.Ryan Flaherty, whos currently on a rehab assignment at Norfolk, fits into that category as well. Earlier this season, Showalter predicted Flaherty would be a big league regular in 2013. Thats highly unlikely.With the ascension of Manny Machado, five of the eight regular spots are claimed: Wieters at catcher, J.J. Hardy at short, Machado at third, Adam Jones in center and Nick Markakis in right.Chris Davis is likely to stick around as the primary designated hitter. In spring training, Showalter said he preferred to rotate the DH, but in the second half of the season, Davis has shown strong, if streaky power. Showalter also doesnt want to play him at first base though he played decently in the outfield at times.The question marks are first base, second base and left field. Mark Reynolds 11 million option for next season makes it questionable hell return. A hot final six weeks may make the Orioles more eager to have him, but they may prefer a cheaper, less streaky hitter.Even though Brian Roberts is under contract for next season, his injury history will cause the team to look elsewhere. If Quintanilla plays as well in the final six weeks as he has in the first five, he may be back.Andino is an interesting case. While Showalter wanted him to be a superutility player, that position may no longer be tenableor even really needed. Hardy plays every day at short, Machado should play daily at third, and the team will probably look elsewhere for a second baseman. Jonathan Schoop, who teams asked about at the trade deadline, may get a shot at second base next spring. Even if hes a season or half-season away, the team probably wont spend heavily on a second baseman. Another few months of Quintanilla may be acceptable. Andino, long a favorite of Showalter, may be overpriced as a utility player, and didnt play all that well as Roberts replacement. He had a strong first month, tailed off. After he sprained his shoulder in mid-July, Andino was supplanted by Quintanilla.Since Andino returned on July 31, hes started just six times. Even though he became a Baltimore folk hero by getting the game-winning single against Boston last September, Andino may now be overpriced for his skill level.A healthy Nolan Reimold and L.J. Hoes could replace McLouth and Ford in left.Even though the bullpen has done well, Gregg has a 6 million team option that will be declined. Gregg will search for a team that can use him in a more prominent role.Romero is here because Troy Patton isnt. Patton, Zach Phillips, Brian Matusz and others will compete for left-handed spots in the bullpen.Matt Lindstrom has a 4 million option. The Orioles will probably decline that because they have Luis Ayala, who can return if his 1 million option is picked up. Darren ODay is also under club control.The guess is that next season, perhaps seven or eight spots will change. Now, lets get back to the playoff push.
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."
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