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World Series over, let's bring on the rumors


World Series over, let's bring on the rumors

For the first time in recorded history, I correctly predicted the World Series. Last week, I predicted the Royals would win in five games.

That, of course followed my forecast of a Blue Jays-Cubs World Series.

The Series wasn’t a surprise to me. The Royals’ starting pitching was good enough to win, their aggressive hitting and baserunning paid off, and their bullpen was magnificent. And, they shut down Daniel Murphy.

Murphy proved fallible in the field and at bat, and Terry Collins allowed his heart to take over his decision making skills.

I hate to forever compare other managers with Buck Showalter, but even though Showalter has never been in a World Series, he wouldn’t have allowed Chris Tillman or Kevin Gausman to talk himself back into a game.

As a little boy, I remember the great 1964 World Series. In the ninth inning of Game 7, St. Louis Cardinals manager Johnny Keane walked to the mound to tell the tiring Bob Gibson that it was his game to win or lose.

Gibson had given up two home runs, and the Yankees had narrowed their deficit to 7-5, but Keane stuck with Gibson. He was rewarded.

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Afterward, Keane was asked about the decision.

“I had a commitment to his heart,” Keane answered.

Matt Harvey, who had been involved in a controversy over his supposed innings limit was wonderful for eight innings, and Collins wanted to take him out. He refused, and Collins buckled.

Had Jeurys Familia started the ninth inning, perhaps we would be talking about Tuesday’s Game 6, but instead, I’m reveling, for the moment, in my correct prediction.

Whenever there’s a World Series winner, teams try to copy their success. How about combining a group of home grown players with shrewd trades and some under-the-radar free agent signings?

Many teams have tried and will continue to try that formula, but the Royals had the right stuff.

Now that the season is finally over, exactly four weeks after the Orioles played their final game, we can start linking every free agent from Matt Albers to Ben Zobrist with the Orioles.

While the Orioles have until a moment before midnight on Friday night to exclusively negotiate with Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis, Darren O’Day, Gerardo Parra, Steve Peace and Matt Wieters, nothing is expected to happen between now and then.

They’ve had the ability to talk with their representatives all along, so there’s no reason for them not to test the market now.

Beginning Saturday, they’ll be able to test the market, and don’t expect early signings by Chen, Davis or Wieters because they’re all represented by Scott Boras, who likes to take his time.

The three will probably receive $15.8 million qualifying offers, which they’ll reject, and the Orioles can receive a compensatory draft pick in return.

It will be interesting to see if the Orioles chase any other free agents with qualifying offers. They signed two, Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez, in Feb. 2014 and surrendered draft picks.

In a little over 3 ½ months, on Feb. 18, spring training will begin in Sarasota, Fla., and between now and then, I’ll be happy to spread countless rumors. Like my World Series prediction, perhaps one or two will be turn to be true.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles have a difficult dilemma with Paredes

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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