In talking about future Baltimore Orioles free agents, Chris Tillman is a guy who’s often forgotten. Tillman will be a free agent in 2018 – a year which is looking to be a red-letter one in terms of contracts being up. So where does that leave the O’s?
Tillman’s the one pitcher in the rotation that’s seemed to work out for the Orioles. So from my standpoint, they can’t afford to lose him. Does that mean he’s priceless? No, of course not. However he is a guy that the Orioles are going to have to pay in order to keep.
It’s not worth getting into dollar amounts now, because we don’t know what the market is going to yield for a guy like Tillman at that point. Heck, we don’t know what kind of season he’s going to have in 2017. However he’ll be due a raise in wherever his next contract is.
Again, Tillman’s not priceless. If he went to other teams he probably wouldn’t be a staff ace, although he wouldn’t be a back-of-the-rotation guy either. So the Orioles do need to keep that in mind, and in fact it can be a shaky slope to walk. Tillman and his agent will probably want ace-type money since Tillman has been the staff ace here in Baltimore. However the Orioles will argue that on other teams he wouldn’t be an ace and so forth.
In essence, we’re talking about the type of ridiculous conversations that occure in arbitration hearings. The team’s actually talking it’s own guy down in a way. But that’s part of the game, and part of the sport.
So if I were the Orioles, I’d try to get this done as soon as possible. Keep in mind that until his contract expires the O’s are the only team with whom Tillman can negotiate. Both sides are a known commodity to the other, given that nobody knows what Tillman’s worth would be on the open market. So there’s that.
Pitching has been a sore spot for the Orioles for years. So Tillman is a guy that they need to find a way to keep. I can’t imagine his price to go way past what’s considered reasonable, so for the team’s sake hopefully they can come to some sort of arrangement at some point. Sooner rather than later, again for the sake of the team. And the fans…and writers who cover it all!