Some Chris Tillman talk, a late-night deal and the week in review

The Orioles could re-sign right-hander Chris Tillman any day now. Or he could go to another team. If he winds up back with the Orioles, my question would be: What took so long? Even in this slow market, couldn’t we have expected Tillman and the Orioles to decide if they wanted a reunion or not by now?

This one indeed has been dragging out.

If the O’s get their opening day starter from 2014-2016 back, we will eventually find out if he can bounce back from a terrible season. We may not truly know how that is going until well into the season, when the games count for real and Tillman has made several starts. Only then will we know if Tillman can consistently get hitters out and much more remind us of the pre-2017 pitcher.

Tillman-Throws-Orange-Sidebar.jpgOver the five-year stretch from 2012-2016, Tillman went 65-33 with an ERA of 3.81. He had four strong seasons and one mediocre one in 2015. He pitched 170 innings or more four times with an ERA of 3.77 or less four times.

In the 2016 season, Tillman went 16-6 with a 3.77 ERA. He made 30 starts and the Orioles went 22-8 in those games. They won 73 percent of Tillman’s starts. But last year, he was 1-7 with an ERA of 7.84. He allowed 12.1 hits per nine innings, 2.3 homers per nine innings, 4.9 walks per nine and 6.1 strikeouts per nine. He went 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA in 10 games versus the American League East and the club went 8-11 in his 19 starts.

Nothing wrong with getting Tillman back on a one-year deal with a lower dollar guarantee, but with a deal that includes incentives that he can reach if he pitches well and helps the team.

Week in review: Earlier this week, we discussed a few topics. They included checking in with pitchers Michael Kelly and Miguel Castro as spring training begins. On Thursday, I profiled longtime O’s scout Jim Howard with this story. We provided some information, stats and opinions on new O’s pitcher Andrew Cashner here and here.

Saturday was a busy day in Sarasota. Both Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop reported to camp and were interviewed by reporters. What is your take on the comments of Machado and Schoop?

Twins acquire pitcher: Is there any time of the day or night when trades don’t happen anymore? Late Saturday night? Sure, who not? Late Saturday night, reports surfaced that the Tampa Bay Rays had traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Minnesota Twins for 21-year-old shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios.

My first thought was to wonder if the Orioles had been in the hunt for Odorizzi, a decent pitcher with two more years of team control. He is slated to earn $6.3 million this year. While he had a season where injuries limited him to 143 innings of a 4.14 ERA in 2017, the previous two seasons he pitched to ERAs of 3.35 and 3.69.

If the Rays were insistent on a young shortstop prospect in return, the O’s organization is very light on those. But Palacios was not among Minnesota’s top 20 prospects as rated by ESPN, Baseball America or MLBPipeline.com. Even with his performance taking a step back last year, it seems the Twins got two years of Odorizzi at a very reasonable price.

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