Orioles re-sign Chris Tillman to a one-year, $3 million deal with incentives (also add OF Alex Presley on minors deal) - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Orioles re-sign Chris Tillman to a one-year, $3 million deal with incentives (also add OF Alex Presley on minors deal)

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

After months of conjecture, the Orioles have re-signed right handed pitcher Chris Tillman to a one-year, big-league deal worth $3 million with incentives that could reach up to $10 million, according to a source.

Tillman, who turns 30 in April, has never pitched a major league game for any other team besides the Orioles in his nine seasons in the majors. For a chunk of that time, he was the club’s best starter, but he had an injury-riddled disaster of a season in 2017 – going 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 24 games (19 starts). He didn’t begin his season until May due to a right shoulder injury.

A free agent at season’s end, Tillman, like most major league free agents this offseason, had to endure a waiting game before finally re-signing a one-year, make-good pact with the Orioles. Tillman, who lives in Sarasota, had been working out at the Orioles’ organization’s facilities in Florida while awaiting a 2018 deal.

In his career — which started with the Seattle Mariners before he was dealt as a minor leaguer in 2008 as part of the Erik Bedard trade — Tillman is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in 203 major league games (198 starts).

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He worked out for the Detroit Tigers on Saturday and was choosing among offers from the Tigers and Orioles and one other team.

He now joins a rotation that includes holdovers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy as well as newly signed Andrew Cashner – all right-handers. The Orioles have one rotation spot open, and that presumably will be a battle among right-handers Mike Wright, Miguel Castro and Gabriel Ynoa and lefty Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes.

The Orioles also announced on Monday that they have signed left-handed hitting outfielder Alex Presley to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. Presley, 32, hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in 71 games with the Tigers last year. He is a career.263 hitter with a career .306 on-base percentage in eight seasons with five different big league teams.

The Orioles have been looking for a left-handed-hitting right fielder that can also play every outfield position.

FanRag Sports first reported Tillman had re-signed.

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. JParsley

    February 19, 2018 at 11:58 am

    that’s a good deal for both sides

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      It certainly could be

  2. TheWalkingEd

    February 19, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    I’m hoping Presley isn’t the end of the LHH OF search. But I’m also pulling for acquiring Dickerson and shifting Trey to RF.

    At least the ice dam of signings has broken.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      I doubt they will move Mancini at this point. I’d just leave him at LF and work on maintaining what he accomplished in 2017.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        February 19, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        Speaking of moving, any news on who is moving off the 40 man to make room for Tillman???

    • BunkerFan

      February 20, 2018 at 9:30 am

      I like Tilly and think he is going to bounce back. I also like the Presley signing. He’s a better offensive player than Dyson (except for speed) and I know, from following the Pirates, he is a true gamer who plays above his stats. The question is really how can he adjust to RF in the Yard? He has played mostly in CF and LF during his career. Not so sure that they won’t try Trey in RF if Presley is so much better in center or left. And yes, I think the O’s are done with signings. Except for a small transaction or two towards the end of ST. Now…will they use the money they DIDN’T spend to extend Schoop? Or even Manny?

  3. phildell

    February 19, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Better late than never. I think it’s a great deal for both the O’s and Tillman. While Presley becomes an option, I hope they can acquire Dickerson. He fills the need and he was an all star

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      Remember, there will be plenty of teams that have interest in Dickerson. And I’d imagine, if all is equal, the Rays would prefer getting him out of the division. This isn’t Beckham. Dickerson is coveted on what he has done not what he could do.

  4. Birdman

    February 19, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Since Tillman’s only 29 and has a track record of five very solid seasons from 2012-2016, the very low level of interest shown in him this year from other clubs suggests that most in MLB believe he is finished as a quality starter … guess its worth the small price the Orioles are paying to take a gamble on him.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      The shoulder injury came at an inopportune time, for sure.

  5. ClyOs

    February 19, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Great move for both Tillman and the Orioles. I believe last season’s poor performance was due to injuries, the question is are those injuries still a factor with his performance. If he is still injured and has another bad year it’s a $3 million loss for the Orioles, which isn’t terrible. However, the fact that the contract is incentives-laced gives Tillman a chance to prove last year was the result of injuries, and he is back on track. The Orioles get a quality starter which they need, and Tillman can hit the free agent market next year looking for a long term deal. Hopefully a Win, Win for both sides.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      That certainly seems to be the reasoning. Makes plenty of sense to me.

  6. PA Bird Lover

    February 19, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Great news. Tilly, if shoulder is healed, will have a successful ‘18. The O’s have plenty of cash to offer up on Cobb. We need a bucket filled with SP and not just a lot of names with high hopes. I believe the front office should be thrifty, but not to point of stupidity.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm

      I’m gonna say this one more time. And then I’m moving on. They have made no real effort to try and sign Cobb. While others have. It’s not gonna happen.

  7. DPG0124

    February 19, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Probably won’t happen, but really hoping for the O’s to sign Lynn or Cobb. Starting 5 of Lynn or Cobb/Gausman/Bundy/Cashner/Tillman isn’t bad. And short leash for Tillman since he’s on a one-year deal if Castro/Cortes/Ynoa/Wright/etc. show anything in AAA or long relief.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm

      Read above. Tho they have at least shown interest in Lynn.

  8. OsFanStuckInNY

    February 19, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Off gamble: bet $3,000,000.00 and IF it pays off, you wind up paying up to $4,000,000.00 more!
    And if you’re *really* lucky, you finish 3rd instead of 5th.
    Who takes that deal?
    🙂

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Same could have been said in 2012. Beauty of baseball is you have to play the games.

  9. karks

    February 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Glad to see Tillman back because I think he can regain his form. That said, I’d still like to see another quality veteran added. Since Tillman is not a sure thing, I just think it’s wise to let him work in the 5th spot and have another veteran to carry a bigger load.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Who you have in mind (and please don’t say Cobb, cuz it’s not going … never mind.) 🙂

      • Jbiglen49

        February 20, 2018 at 8:20 am

        Liriano? Cahill? Liriano might be tough because he has a hard time getting past 5 innings. Both of them have experience in the bullpen if neededh. I believe liriano could be a better lefty reliever than bleier at the least. Neither would be a particular exciting signing but it would give us options in case Tillman or even cashner falters or gets hurt. I have a feeling we won’t sign two guys with ynoa and wright out of options. Who do you think is a lock for the pen? At this point I’m thinking only brach givens oday, one of or both hart or bleier. That leaves 2-3 slots. Presumably we don’t want to lose mike wright so he either takes the 5 spot or the Lrp. I could see Castro getting optioned and staying stretched out. I don’t really see a spot for him unless he has an exceptional camp and we don’t mind losing ynoa or wright.

    • karks

      February 20, 2018 at 9:10 am

      I wouldn’t talk about Cobb because I want Lynn 🙂

  10. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    February 19, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    I am not surprised with the incentive laden contract with Tillman. Last year his velocity and command were down. This lead to big innings. Hopefully he can stay healthy and pitch well. I still think we need another veteran for depth. Especially if someone goes down with an injury. However, I will be surprised if that happens.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      I think there is a chance. But more likely on a minors deal.

  11. 5brooks5

    February 19, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    This team has more of a chance signing Ty Cobb than Alex in my opinion

  12. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 19, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    So Dan, what do you think the odds of the O’s signing Cobb are?

  13. Ezrine Tire Award

    February 19, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    These offseason moves suck. It’s a middlin’ market team making lower market team decisions. Sign Cobb or Lynn and make Manny a 10-year $250 deal take it or leave it. At least the fan base will know they tried.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 8:59 pm

      I’m so opposed to the “at least they’ve tried” philosophy. Either you are serious or not. And I don’t think they are serious. At this point I don’t think 250 gets it done.

  14. Dblack2508

    February 19, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    I believe this is the big free agent pitcher signings for 2018. I do wonder why he chose Baltimore over Detroit , their park is much more pitcher friendly.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 19, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      He has a relationship with everyone in the organization. And has a house in Sarasota.

  15. thebookdoc

    February 20, 2018 at 4:25 am

    Glad to see Tillman get signed. He’s the perfect type Os go after normally, and even better that he’s got a track record with the team. I predicted he sign with the Os…but now we do have a rather unbelievably long list of guys who need a comeback year. What looked like a frightening pitching situation took a 180.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 20, 2018 at 9:08 am

      I’m not sure any of the starting Ps besides Tillman need a comeback year. You’d like Gausman and Bundy to take a step forward. But comeback? I guess you are including Davis and Trumbo too. Still, long list?

      • thebookdoc

        February 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

        I was including Davis, Trumbo, Tillman…if you consider those are supposed to be opening day starter and center lineup premium contracts, that’s a lot already. You could argue Machado was 35 points off his average and had a bad first half. I don’t think O’day really had a typical couple of years for him (sub 2.3 era for 4 years then a jump to 3.4+). Britton bumped his era by 2.3 points, and dropped to half the innings — and that trend isnt seeming to change. Jones was up at the plate and down in the field — maybe he’s got more to cover? Gausman did drop a full point in era…and you have to depend on him as a #2 starter?Brach was a full point down. All those guys could rebound (I am not so optimistic about Britton). Honestly O’day, I’d bet, will see better numbers. Gausmann has an opportunity to turn it on. Jones is in an FA year. Trumbo and Davis both admit they were off at the plate. Tillman could only go up, even if he switched throwing arms.You want to pick on me saying ‘long list’…when there are that many key players having off years, that’s long. From just 2 players you could see 30 more HRs realistically, and another 60 hits — you’ve got to think that will matter. ‘Long’ may have been the wrong word. ‘Important’? ‘Key’?

        There’s some great stuff too (Bleir, Givens [16-3 over 2 years!], Mancini, Schoop, Beckham), and I’m guessing you will get the yearly surprise. If the pitching game can even get back half the .8 they dropped in era (120 more ER in 2017? ), That’s the whole team gaining a run a game, practically.

        It maybe just feels long. They need to shake September, really…September was ‘long’ and it still had the same number of days as usual.

  16. Jbiglen49

    February 20, 2018 at 8:27 am

    At this time who do you think has the inside track on the 5th slot? Obviously we could add a Cahill or liriano etc between now and then but let’s assume we don’t.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 20, 2018 at 9:09 am

      For me, I’d say Cortes & Wright. One’s a Rule 5 and a lefty and the other is homegrown and out of options. Castro can neatly fit into the bullpen. Ynoa is on outside looking in imo. But that could change with a big spring.

  17. Jbiglen49

    February 20, 2018 at 8:36 am

    One more comment while I’m at it this morning. What do you think about all these rule 5 guys? Obviously we want to get a look but we certainly can’t keep them all and I don’t want one of these guys blocking a major league signing. We’re going to have to squeeze a pitcher off the 40 if we sign a liriano or a Lynn (haha) Unless we’ve seen enough out of an out options guy like ynoa but I’m sure someone would find room on their 40 for him. I understand wanting to get a look at these guys but if it’s impeding a better signing that doesn’t work for me.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 20, 2018 at 9:10 am

      I believe they believe they have flexibility on the 40-man

  18. BunkerFan

    February 20, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Araujo goes back; O’s keep Mesa and Cortes. With Santander needing to stay for 44 days or so, the O’s would carry 3 Rule 5 guys: a huge number for a contender. My conclusion is that the O’s are done signing free agents because they have “reasonably” filled out their starting rotation for a pretty low price and they are not expecting to truly contend. They are putting together a club that will be “competitive.” But not a real contender. Unless everything goes right. I also think Hays goes to AAA until Santander “vests.” Presley plays some RF, so does Trumbo. With Santander getting some games in. So there are 3 in RF.

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