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Would long-term deal with Britton be a good idea?


Would long-term deal with Britton be a good idea?

Lately I’ve been busy spending other people’s money. With six key free agents and others looming in the coming years, it’s easy to do that.

I’ve suggested the Orioles preemptively extend Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. Doing that would be a great sign for the restive fan base.

Machado is entering his first year of arbitration, and Schoop is still a year away from that.

Then, there’s Zach Britton.

Britton earned nearly $3.2 million in 2015, and will make more, much more in 2016, his first season of arbitration eligibility.

Since becoming the Orioles closer in May 2014, Britton has converted 63 of 70 save opportunities. Since his move to the bullpen at the start of 2014, Britton has ERAs of 1.65 and 1.92 and allowed just seven home runs in 142 innings.

This season, Britton struck out nearly six times as many batters as he walked and was rewarded with an All-Star Game selection.

It’s almost hard to remember how Britton struggled with being a starter. In 2011, he won five of his first six starts before winning just one of his next 12.

Britton was demoted to Bowie in July after a brutal outing in Boston where he gave up eight runs in 2/3rds of an inning.

And when he came back up three weeks later, things got worse. Britton recorded just one out at Yankee Stadium as New York scored nine runs off him in a 12-run first.

While he ended 2011 with five wins in his last seven decisions and a team-high 11 wins, that was his high point as a starter.

Britton struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness in 2012 and 2013, manager Buck Showalter insisted at the end of 2013 that the left-hander was poised for big things.

He had no options remaining, and if the Orioles didn’t want him, another team would.

Britton began the year in the bullpen and after Tommy Hunter didn’t adapt to the closer’s role, the job was handed to Britton, and he performed brilliantly.

It will be interesting to see what the Orioles do this winter with Britton, who like Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters is represented by Scott Boras.

It’s probably unlikely that they’ll seek to lock him up for the long term even though he seems to be happy in Baltimore and has thrived under pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti, both of whom will return next season.

The Orioles have another key reliever, Darren O’Day, who is a free agent, and they’d like to try and keep him.

Britton will command a formidable number in arbitration. MLBTraderumors.com has projected Britton earning $6.9 million, which as it stands now, would be the fourth highest on the club, behind only Adam Jones, Ubaldo Jimenez and J.J. Hardy.

That’s likely to be topped if the Orioles re-sign Chen, Davis, Wieters or Gerardo Parra or add a few players from outside the organization.

However, nearly $7 million is an enormous number for a reliever, and it’s hard to see the Orioles spending that much and more in a long-term deal—even for a closer as successful as Britton.

[RELATED: Chris Davis voted Most Valuable Oriole for second time]

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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

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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 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