The potential reunion between the Orioles and right-hander Chris Tillman always seemed to make sense for both sides, almost as if they needed each other. In retooling their starting rotation, the Orioles needed a pitcher who had proven to be successful and durable in the past, and Tillman needed the opportunity to rebound from the worst season of his career. Tillman will now return to the Orioles starting rotation, agreeing to terms on a one-year, major-league deal Monday, according to an industry source, that will give the 30-year-old the opportunity to rebuild his resume following an unsteady season that left him unsigned as full-camp workouts are about to begin around the majors. The deal is believed to have a low base salary but incentive laden with performance bonuses for innings pitchers and/or starts. After arriving to spring training with just two spots in their starting rotation set – right-handers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy – Tillman’s signing is the second free-agent starting pitcher signing of the week. The team signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year deal guaranteeing him $16 million. Tillman went through the entire offseason having fielded few offers. The Orioles were always in discussion but the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers were also interested, with Tillman throwing for the Tigers just this past Saturday. Even though Tillman’s 7.84 ERA was the highest of any pitcher making more than 15 starts last season, it was worth taking the chance that Tillman would bounce back this year. The only obstacle was coming to an agreement on a deal that would stick. The move to bring Tillman back is the latest of a recent string of instances in which the Orioles retained their own free agents. Two offseasons ago, the team spent unprecedented money to keep first baseman Chris Davis and reliever Darren O’Day, and last offseason, the Orioles re-upped Mark Trumbo to a three year deal. Gausman said earlier this week that he was hoping Tillman would return.
Chris Tillman returning to Orioles on one-year, major league deal
Baltimore Sun | Feb 19