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Who will take the fifth for the Orioles?

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Who will take the fifth for the Orioles?

The identity of four of the Orioles’ five starters is known. Barring a major trade or injuries, Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez will be in the team’s starting rotation.

Wei-Yin Chen probably will not be. It’s still the early days of free agency, and no major signings have occurred, but there’s a lot of interest in Chen, and it would be a surprise if he returned.

Many names have already been connected with the Orioles and more will surface, but the fifth starter, who actually may be placed much higher in the rotation, is very much an unknown.

In Dan Duquette’s conference call following Matt Wieters’ accepting the team’s qualifying offer, he mentioned that he thought some of the team’s younger pitchers could challenge for a starting role.

Two rookies, Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson, combined to start 14 games in 2015.

Wright had a few outstanding starts, and then some that were awful.

In his first two, Wright didn’t allow a run and gave up just seven hits in 14 1/3 innings.

After he returned from the minor leagues, the Orioles sent him to the bullpen, but he immediately suffered a strained calf, and went on the disabled list.

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Gonzalez went on the disabled list in early September, and Wilson had an oblique injury, so Wright started again. In his three September starts, Wright allowed 13 runs in 12 innings.

When Wilson was healthy enough to start, Wright went back to the bullpen and finished the season with two scoreless outings. He didn’t allow a run in three relief appearances.

His numbers as a starter weren’t very inspiring, 2-5 with a 6.48 ERA.

Wright dominated at Norfolk, going 9-1 with a 2.02 ERA, but the Orioles see his immediate future in the bullpen.

They hope he can fill Tommy Hunter’s role. With Brad Brach and Mychal Givens and perhaps a free agent setup man, maybe the bullpen can again be a strength.

Wilson, who also pitched out of the bullpen, is looked upon more as a starter. He was drafted in the 10th round in 2011 and methodically worked his way up the system.

He was 2-2 with a 3.50 ERA in nine appearances, five of them starts.

Some scouts think Wilson will have a tough time making the adjustment to major league starting, but he showed one impressive trait in his time with the Orioles.

Wilson allowed just one home run in 36 innings. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, and struck out just 13 batters in 36 innings.

Manager Buck Showalter wanted to give Wilson a final late-season start, and on Oct. 1, he got one. In front of dozens of fans, Wilson pitched an inning against a Toronto team that had clinched the AL East the day before, and then was shut down after rain delayed the game for more than three hours.

Wilson will get a chance to starter, though he could certainly be a long man, too.

Last month, the Orioles also picked up another contender to start. Vance Worley was acquired on waivers from Pittsburgh.

Worley, who won 11 games on the terrific 2011 Phillies staff that also featured Roy Halladay, Cole Hamel, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt, has been mediocre since then.

In 2014, he was 8-4 with a 2.45 ERA with the Pirates, but followed that with a 4-6 record and a 4.02 ERA.

Worley made $2.45 million last season, and the Orioles may not want to pay him $3 million when he’s eligible for arbitration.

While they’re eager to see Worley, he could be non-tendered early next month.

T.J. McFarland is also a possibility for the rotation, but with so many right-handed starters, they also like him as a long man.

MORE ORIOLES: Wieters return may complicate Orioles' bench

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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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 hecticfew 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

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Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday after searching for starting pitching all offseason.

The 31-year-old Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in eight major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Miami and Texas, including 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last year. The deal with the Orioles has an option for 2020.

He'll join right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation.

"I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is, show up every day and whoever I can help out, help out and my job is to come here and pitch and win," Cashner said.

Cashner's deal could be worth $41 million over three seasons if he pitches 200 innings annually. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments each Jan. 15 from 2020 through 2021.

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Cashner has salaries of $5 million this season and $8 million in 2019, and there is a $10 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 340 innings combined in the next two seasons. If he reaches 360 innings, it would become a player option.

He can make $5 million in performance bonuses each year.

There are $1,525,000 per season in bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 10 and 15, $625,000 for 20 and $400,000 for 30.

Cashner also can make $3,475,000 each year based on innings: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $275,000 for 130, $350,000 for 140, $750,000 for 150 and $400,000 apiece for 170, 180, 190 and 200.

Cashner was at the Orioles' spring training facility, and was due to head to his Texas home for a few days before returning on Sunday when Baltimore's full squad is required to report. He'll likely work out with the team for the first time Monday.

He has little experience against the Orioles, but said he was excited to join the team.

"It's a lineup you can't really make a lot of mistakes against," Cashner said. "It's a lot of power in there, and I got to pitch (for) San Diego one year in Baltimore. Really cool stadium, really neat, a lot of history. It's one of my favorite places to pitch, so I'm looking forward to making that my home (stadium) every night."

RELATED: ORIOLES TO SHUFFLE UP INFIELD AHEAD OF MACHADO'S FINAL SEASON

Manager Buck Showalter said Cashner would be an ideal addition to the club.

"He's a veteran starter. That's a good deal for both us and him," Showalter said. "He's a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor."

Cashner said that he began negotiations with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson last fall and in a challenging offseason for free agents, he said patience was vital.

"I don't think it's been difficult. It's been interesting. It's been different," Cashner said.

To make room for Cashner on the 40-man roster, Baltimore placed left-hander Zach Britton (Achilles) on the 60-day disabled list.