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Should the Orioles think about trading Brad Brach?

Should the Orioles think about trading Brad Brach?

The Orioles should trade Zach Britton and get a haul for him. That was the suggestion of one reader when I wrote on Friday of the moves the team could potentially make this offseason. 

When Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter held their year-end press briefing on Oct. 4, Duquette was asked about the possibility of trading Britton or Manny Machado, both of whom could be free agents two years from now. 

“I haven’t thought about that that much, but that’s something we can think about for the offseason,” Duquette said. “I like those guys on our ballclub, I like the work that they do and I like watching them every day. One’s an MVP candidate and the other one’s a Cy Young Award candidate. Those guys are tough to find and they’re young and they’re good and they play for the Orioles. We like them on our ballclub.”

In Duquette’s five years with the Orioles, the team has been in contention each season, and he has shown no inclination to trade attractive players who are nearing free agency. 

Not even in 2015 when the Orioles were on the fringe of contention and they had some tradeable assets who were about to become free agents: Wei-Yin Chen, Darren O’Day and Matt Wieters, did they trade.

Instead of trying to move them, Duquette added another looming free agent, Gerardo Parra, to the team. 

Trading Britton after his historical season, could appear to some to be wise, but even though he’s under club control for two more seasons, those will be expensive seasons, and there are many clubs who would balk at paying a reliever—even one as excellent as Britton—the $11.4 million that he could earn in arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.

If Britton has another good season, he could make perhaps $15 million in his final arbitration year, and while some teams with large payrolls could afford that, how many teams have the type of players that would make a deal like that attractive to the Orioles? 
As good as the Orioles bullpen is, Britton is the key. 

But, there’s another alternative to trading the best relief pitcher in baseball, and that’s trading Brad Brach.

Brach is also two years away from free agency, and while he’s no Britton, some teams needing a closer may think he could fit. 

It’s highly unlikely that two years from now, the Orioles could afford a high priced bullpen that includes O’Day, who is set to make $9 million in 2018 and 2019, Britton and Brach. 

While Duquette has held onto his free agents, the Orioles don’t have many attractive veteran players to trade, and Brach is perhaps the most attractive. 

Brach was obtained three years ago from San Diego, where he struggled to establish himself as a major leaguer. In one of Duquette’s best trades, the Orioles acquired Brach for minor league pitcher Devin Jones, who did not play in 2016. 

In his three seasons with the Orioles, Brach is 22-8 with a 2.61 ERA and last year had a 2.05 ERA and an All-Star selection.

Brach has three saves in the last two years, and in arbitration, he is estimated to bring home $2.9 million in 2017, far less than Britton’s number. 

The three biggest reliever names expected to hit the market are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon. If the Kansas City Royals don’t exercise Wade Davis’ $10 million option, he could be on the market, too. 

Brach would also be far cheaper than any of those. 

While a bullpen featuring Brach, Britton, O’Day, Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart would be strong, Givens has pitched well enough to move into Brach’s role. 

In his last 13 regular season appearances, Givens allowed just one run on six hits in 12 2/3 innings, striking out 16. In Brach’s last 13 appearances, he allowed eight runs—five earned—on 13 hits in 12 1/3 innings for a 3.65 ERA. 

I’m not one to throw out fantasy trades, but it’s obvious the Orioles are looking for help in the leadoff spot as well as fortifying catching. 

If Brach, who underwent minor knee surgery earlier this month, can fetch the Orioles some help at the top of the order, perhaps they should listen. 

I’m not campaigning for the Orioles to trade Brach, but they’ve shown organizational ability to develop relievers. In the past two seasons, they’ve brought both Givens and Hart up directly from Double-A. 

Showalter likes having relievers who are optionable, and moving Brach could open a spot for a reliever who can be freely optioned.
Givens, Hart, Oliver Drake and Parker Bridwell all have options. 

Keeping Brach isn’t a bad idea, but seeing what they could get for him seems to make a lot of sense. 

MORE ORIOLES: Hardy has been dependable for Orioles

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

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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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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