Pedro Strop has a 5-2 record with a 2.31 ERA. Brian Matusz is 6-10 with a 5.07 ERA. Which one is currently more valuable for the Orioles?Brian Matusz.For most of the season the idea that Matusz would outperform Strop was absurd. Matusz was sent to the minors midway through the season after being humiliated as a starter. Now, hes an effective left-handed reliever.Strop was a superb eighth-inning man and even filled in as closer when Jim Johnson was ill early in the season. These days, Orioles fans gasp when he comes in the game.Over the last month, Strop was seen his ERA nearly double from 1.20 to 2.31 and hes given up nine of the 16 runs allowed this season.Within five days, Strop had two hideous outings against the Yankees that resulted in blown saves, and on Sunday in Oakland, he allowed two hits and a walk in 15 pitches. Strop forced manager Buck Showalter to get Jim Johnson into the game for an unwanted save.Strops effectiveness allowed the Orioles to trade Matt Lindstrom for a needed left-handed starter, Joe Saunders. With Strop strong, Luis Ayala and Darren ODay complementing him, Lindstrom could be dealt.It will be interested to see what Showalter will do with Strop. Will he use him earlier in the eighth inning? Hes pitched in the seventh several times this season, but never before.Will Showalter use Ayala or ODay as the eighth-inning guy? Or perhaps someone else? The Orioles are carrying 16 pitchers, and generally use about 10 in the pen. Jason Hammel is currently unavailable, so Showalter may have slightly more limited late-inning options.Matusz is one of the more fascinating options in a season full of them. After a horrifying 2011 with a record-setting 10.69 ERA, Matusz made the team as the fifth starter, began the season acceptably before imploding in June. He was sent to Norfolk just before the All-Star break with no assurance of a hasty return. Some of his Triple-A starts were quite strong, but because of the improved performances of his replacements, Matusz stayed in Norfolk longer than he thought he needed to.In mid-August after the bullpens lone left-hander Troy Patton sprained his left ankle, Matusz was hastily converted into a reliever. After a handful of outings, Matusz was back in Baltimore, replacing veteran J.C. Romero, who failed to impress in a short audition.Since his Aug. 24 return, Matusz has thrown 9 13 innings, allowing two runs and three hits. Hes struck out 13 and walked just one, most impressive for a pitcher who had eight starts with three or more walks this year.Pattons recovery has gone slower than expected, and it will be interesting to see if Matusz has supplanted him. With the roster expansion, Zach Phillips and Randy Wolf, who started on Sunday, are on hand as left-handed options, but its Matusz who currently has Showalters confidence.While the Orioles say the right things about Strop and Matusz, its becoming more likely that one will be dealt in the offseason and another will return to the bullpen.Strop will probably have high market value. Hes young, he throws hard and is a positive force in the clubhouse. Its not hard to see another team taking a chance on him as a closer.Johnson has cemented his role as one of baseballs elite closers, and with Ayala a cheap option for next year and ODay not terribly expensive, both of them are likely to be back, with some new friends.Not long ago, Matusz was one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. After Showalters arrival in Aug. 2010, he was dynamic and great things were expected from him. Instead, he was hurt for the first two months of the season and pitched poorly.He seems comfortable and happy in the bullpen, and with the need for a left-hander who can work multiple innings as he did on Sunday, Matusz could be a bullpen mainstay.For now, Showalter is trying Jake Arrieta in the bullpen, too. Its more likely that Arrieta will be back as a rotation candidate next season. The competition will be greater. Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel and Chris Tillman seem to have proven themselves. Zach Britton has shown well at times lately and Miguel Gonzalez has been useful, too. Its unlikely that Joe Saunders will be back unless he accepts a below-market salary, and with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman not far away, Arrieta will lots to prove.Like Matusz, Arrieta may have to do his proving in the bullpen.
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