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Where will Orioles find more starting pitching?

Where will Orioles find more starting pitching?

The Orioles closed the 2016 season with six starting pitchers. They may open 2017 with those same six—and maybe more. 

Because of injuries or performance, teams usually need more than five starters. The Chicago Cubs, whose five best starters threw 152 of 162 games are the exception. 

But, the Cubs are so good that Jason Hammel, who 15 games and had a 3.83 ERA, has been inactive for the first two postseason series. 

The Orioles used nine starters in the season just past: Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman (30 starters each), Ubaldo Jimenez (25), Yovani Gallardo (23), Dylan Bundy (14), Tyler Wilson (13), Mike Wright (12), Wade Miley (11) and Vance Worley (4).  

All but Worley are under club control for 2017. 

Tillman, Gausman and Bundy comprise a potentially formidable top three while Gallardo, Jimenez and Miley all pitched creditably in the season’s final weeks. 

Two seasons ago, the Orioles went into spring training with six starters for five spots: Tillman, Gausman, Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris. 

Norris pitched himself out of the rotation, and the club tried Wilson and Wright. 

The Orioles want not only five good starters, but five potential starters in back of those five. 

They’ll hope that Wilson and Wright given another year could be part of that solution. 

For the moment, there don’t appear to be major league ready starters in the minors. Christopher Lee, who was shut down with a shoulder injury in mid-May, was 5-0 with a 2.98 ERA with Bowie. 

At the start of last season, the Orioles hoped Lee would be a potential starter late in the year, but that wasn’t possible. 

The most often used starters for the Baysox did not have impressive numbers: Jayson Aquino (5-10, 3.90), Brandon Barker (5-7, 4.75) Jason Garcia (6-10, 4.73), David Hess (5-13, 5.37) and John Means (4-8, 4.69). Matthew Grimes, who pitched well at Frederick, was 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA. 

It was even less promising at the Orioles’ highest level, Triple-A Norfolk. The Tides’ most used starter was Joe Gunkel, who went 8-11 with a 4.08 ERA. Gunkel has yet to be added to the 40-man roster and wasn’t a serious consideration for a September callup. 

If Wilson or Wright can show they’ve improved in 2017 that would be a help because none of the six top starters have options remaining, and just two of the top five relievers (Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart). 

In the early years of the Dan Duquette-Buck Showalter regime, the Orioles could option pitchers more freely, but now with the starters as well as Brad Brach, Zach Britton and Darren O’Day assured to be on the team, it’s harder for them to be more flexible.

Givens was so good and valuable that the Orioles never came close to optioning him in 2016. 

Perhaps the Orioles will want to make room for Parker Bridwell and Oliver Drake, who can be freely moved. Aquino was called up in September, but only got in two games then. 

At Duquette and Showalter’s season-ending press conference, Duquette indicated that he would be looking for additional starters and more left-handed pitching. 

The free agent market isn’t loaded with top shelf talent, and the Orioles will probably look for pitchers who’ve had good track records in the past, but have suffered a down year or two. 

MORE ORIOLES: Will there be a Vanimal sighting in 2017?

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

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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