SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles have both of their starting pitchers under contract for 2018 after Kevin Gausman reached agreement today on a $5.6 million deal to avoid Wednesday’s arbitration hearing in Arizona.
Gausman and Dylan Bundy will be joined by three other starters. The Orioles aren’t going to experiment with a two-man rotation this summer. The issue is reaching agreements with free agents or with executives in trade talks.
Interest remains in bringing back Chris Tillman, who’s working out in Sarasota. Tillman is hoping to land a major league deal, but he may not have an offer on the table at the moment.
The Orioles engaged in recent talks with Tillman’s agent and there were internal discussions about him again today as pitchers and catchers reported to the Ed Smith Stadium complex. The Orioles haven’t moved on from him and likely would want to chance to match any offer that he receives.
He won’t be hard to reach. He can be found inside their weight room.
Don’t interpret the shoulder shrugs to mean he doesn’t care.
Reliever Perci Garner, 29, will move at a slower pace after undergoing arthroscopic surgery Dec. 7 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
“It’s really well,” he said. “I’m glad I came down here a little early. Got some rehab in. Had a physical therapist back home, but they have more resources here, so recovery has been a lot better.
“Usually I would have started throwing like the second week of December, but I didn’t start throwing until like Jan. 17, I believe, so I’m a little bit behind. I’ve gotten two bullpens in so far.”
The Phillies chose Garner in the second round of the 2010 draft out of Ball State University. His major league experience consists of eight relief appearances with the Indians in 2016, when he allowed five earned runs (six total) and 12 hits with 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. Wrist and calf injuries limited him to 13 appearances last summer between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
With only a few minor league offers on the table, Garner chose the Orioles over the Pirates and received an invitation to spring training. He already has a few friends on the club, including Santander and pitchers Joely Rodríguez and Jeff Ferrell.
“It really came down to two teams and the Orioles, they just seemed like they really liked me and wanted me and wanted what was best for me, and not just to sign another guy,” Garner said. “I was really interested, and the fact that they were interested in me. And I knew some guys here and I’ve heard some things about the organization. I got to speak with Dan Duquette and I liked the way he handled our conversation.”
Garner saw opportunities with both the Orioles and Pirates based on bullpen construction and usage.
“But they (Orioles) were pretty aggressive with how they spoke with me about the opportunities with the team,” he said, “so I’ve been looking forward to that.”
Garner and Josh Harrison, a super utility player with the Pirates, share the same agent. They had a long discussion before Garner picked the team that trains in Sarasota over the one in nearby Bradenton.
“We’re friends and all,” Garner said, smiling, “but when he steps into the batter’s box it’s going to be a little different, so I have to prepare for that now.”