Orioles: Tillman expected to make a decision this weekend

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 26: Chris Tillman
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 26: Chris Tillman /

Chris Tillman, former starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, is expected to decide on a new team this weekend. Will his decision involve a return to Birdland?

The Baltimore Orioles are still searching for another starting pitcher. Talking with MASN’s Roch Kubatko, Executive Vice President, Dan Duquette said:

"“We are still talking to other teams and also some other free agents. Obviously, we still have some opportunity on our pitching staff.”"

With only three guaranteed starters heading into the team’s first weekend at camp, another signing could be on the horizon.

Chris Tillman is still on the market, and the Orioles have had interest in bringing him back for the 2018 season.

Tillman, who will turn 30 in April, is one year removed from his worst season in the big leagues. Battling a nagging shoulder injury, he finished with a 1-and-7 record, and a 7.84 ERA in 24 appearances (19 starts) for the O’s. He also finished with a career-low FIP (6.93) and WHIP (1.892).

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Looking for a bounce-back season, Tillman has noted that he will make a decision on a home for 2018 within the next few days.

A decision looming

It’s no secret that the organization likes Chris Tillman. Acquired from the Seattle Mariners ten years ago, he’s been in the Orioles system since he was 20. Before he became a free agent, the longest-tenured Orioles starter was second behind Adam Jones as the longest-tenured Oriole.

This offseason though, along with the Orioles, Tillman has garnered interest from the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and Toronto Blue Jays.

However, it doesn’t appear – per MLB.com reporter Britt Ghiroli – that the Orioles have made an offer to Tillman.

And, per The Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina, Tillman is “expected to make his decision on where he will pitch this season within the next 48 to 72 hours.”

In regards to Tillman, Encina also reports that “he is believed to be leaning toward a one-year contract with a low guaranteed salary and the potential to earn lucrative incentive-based compensation. He will try to rebuild his value in the hopes of landing a big-money deal next winter.”

BALTIMORE, MD – JUNE 30: Chris Tillman
BALTIMORE, MD – JUNE 30: Chris Tillman /

A one-year deal would be perfect for an established big league starter trying to rebound after a bad season.

Helping the Orioles rotation

Tillman was one of the key pieces to the Orioles’ return to postseason baseball. From 2012 to 2016, he started 143 games for the O’s, pitching to a 65-and-33 record. His ERA was a cool 3.81 in 844.2 innings.

He won 16 games in 2013 – on his way to his first All-Star game – and in 2016. Furthermore, he pitched over 200 innings in back-to-back seasons (2013 and 2014) and tied with seven other starters for most starts in the 2014 season (34).

He was the club’s ace.

Certainly, Tillman’s experience will go a long way to help the rotation in 2018. That is, only if he has truly recovered from the shoulder injury.

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I’m not Nostradamus, not by any means. But, I did write that Andrew Cashner was a realistic option for the team to acquire via free-agency. In that same article I said Jason Vargas was an option, but he’ll be pitching for the New York Mets. Chris Tillman though remains my pick for the Orioles to bring back and only time will tell if I should get my lottery tickets ready.