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May 27, 2010

Orioles: Tillman's return

Chris Tillman will be rejoining the Orioles for the trip to Toronto, where he'll make his first start on Saturday. It'll be good to see him again and it'll be good to have him in the Orioles rotation if he can pick up where he left off in Norfolk.

He's been throwing very well, and he's a huge part of the Orioles future, so this is as good a time as any for him to re-establish himself in the major league starting rotation. Or not. The Blue Jays have been playing above their heads, or -- at least -- above the expectations of the preseason prognosticators. They can flat-out hit, so he'll have his work cut out for him.

Tillman was very disappointed when he lost his place in the rotation to David Hernandez, but the Orioles felt he needed some more time at Triple-A. We'll find out soon enough if that was the case. I'm hoping he is an elixir for his friend Brian Matusz, who has struggled in three of his last four outings. They are great friends and were inseparable last year and in spring training.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 9:40 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Just baseball


I think Hernandez may be a bitter fit in the bullpen and at least he is there in case a starter gets yanked early in the game.

Personally, I think we should wait till 2012 before we declare AM a failure. You can't build a winner overnight, and a team that hasn't been to the playoffs since '97 won't just get the mojo back, it takes time. Quite frankly, we have been stuck to this rebuilding plan since end of 2007 and I don't see any other alternative besides throw in the towel and again, start from scratch.

AM should get beaten up for what I think was a poor offseason. Our bullpen got worse, we never did find a decent closer, and we still don't have a power hitting first baseman. I think it's fair to demand a very strong offseason coming up and give Andy one more chance to turn this around.

Let me jump in and back up Chris. First, let me say this season, and the last 12 seasons are completely unacceptable. Pathetic is a good word, so dont count me as an apologist.

But will firing the GM this season speed up the process to even get respectable? I dont want to start over AGAIN. I agree with Chris, we need to put more heat on Andy to finish what I thought was a good start.

The hole at 1B is inexusable. Every other team in baseball can find a decent power hitter. Some have good guys stuck in AAA behind those better players. This has to be #1. And as many posters said during the off-season, having Reimold/Pie should not prevent the O's from signing a better LF.

Those are the big things Andy can do. I think we have no choice but to give him one more off-season before starting over again. If we do that, we could be looking at 5 more hopeless years.


So with these young pitchers that the O's love to throw to the wolves, what happens when they reach the 150 inning mark?

Seriously, when Matusz, Tillman and soon to be brought up Arrieta get to a certain point, they'll be shut down, right? I mean wouldn't that be the best thing to do?

So when these AAA developing pitchers are done learning their way at the major league level, who will fill in the innings over the final 25% of the season?

Do we bring up some up the other young arms, use them as guinea pigs and wear their arms out? Or do we go by way of the Berkens and Hendricksons?

Everything is an experiment this this club. And none of them ever quite end up the way they hoped.... do they.....

How many losses is this minor league like team really going end up with this year?

Is this what they mean by 'pissing in the wind'?

wayne. I think the O's should follow the ideas of Texas legendary leader Nolan Ryan and have their starters pitch more not less. There's a good article in this week's Sports Illustrated about how he is preaching the mantra of going deeper into games etc.
This is the perfect time to find out who's go it and who doesn't. Why not keep sending out Matusz, Bergesen and Tillman out every 5 days? The worst that can happen is the O's lose, which they are pretty used to anyway and the upside is that they learn how to pitch at the MLB level.
Hopefully by Aug or Sept these young starters get into some type of groove and they become bona-fide pitchers by the time the O's are ready to compete(whenever that might be is anyone's guess!)
And as far as Cowherd goes, what I took from his article was to make the best of a bad situation. I'd love to live close to Baltimore and would attend games regardless. It's a pretty cheap ticket, the park is nice and if you are a ball fan, you get to see some stars even if most of them are on the other team!

I think this is why we can all say that last offseason was quite crappy. The Millwood was a great signing, but if your rotation's top two guys are Millwood and Guthrie you aren't going to be winning 80 games any time soon. I don't think you bring up Arrieta this year. Let him work all the way through AAA this year and go into next spring training as the 4 or 5th guy. We don't need to rush him like we did with Bergy but him fighting back like he has will pay off down the road.

The season is already a failure. There is no point in continuing to try and make something out of nothing and still fail. The O's need to clean up house and get what they can for what they have that still has value. Tejada, Millwood, Guthrie, Wiggington, Scott, Atkins, Gonzo, etc. should all be on the trade block. Instead of trading for pitching prospects, maybe they can actually get some position player prospects instead that are near major league ready. Do you think MacFail is regretting not trading Roberts when he had the chance to unload at top trade value? His career could be coming to an end after getting his contract extension. It is time to move on and start planning ahead. Are any of the above players really in the long term plans anyway? I say let's get that number 1 overall pick and hope there is a player of the caliber of Bryce Harper or Strasburg who is a can't miss.


It'll never happen here, or most places.

Ryan once said that babying these pitchers never works, as there is no proof that doing so prolongs a pitchers career. In fact, he said he felt there were more Tommy John procedure's for babying these guys then by increasing their workloads.

Of course when he talks about increasing their workloads, they still pitch fewer innings than back in his day.

I for one, hope what he's doing in Texas works - big time. It could help change the way pitchers are treated in the future.

In the meantime, I guarantee you the O's will again shut both Matusz and Tillman down early this year. And if they bring up Arrieta, they'll do the same with him.

So what will be left? Berken types perhaps?

This is what we're dealing with folks. AAA pitchers learning on the job at the major league level.

But what's that you say? It'll pay dividends in 2011 and 12?

Oh.... that's right. It's a 5 year Plan. It is a 5 year Plan, right? I know, AM never said it was, but it must be, right?

This team may lose 110 games this year folks, and they may very well do the very same thing next year.

AM enters his 4th year in a few days.... and people are still talking about the Bedard trade.

Oh my

Hi Pete,
Got a couple questions regarding items that don't get too much attention around here but they definetely play a part in this 13 year losing streak. Does the front office evaluate the jobs done by the scouts? We continually miss on draft picks (that may be an Andy issue and not the scouts) and do they scout other teams minor leagues to see if there is anyone block that could be of service to this sad team? Do you ever hear of Andy initiating trade discussions for some young talent (I know that you probably wouldn't hear much because that is how trades fall through). My point is this team doesn't initiate potential trades for youth unless we HAVE TO/NEED TO get rid of someone. Couldn't we inquire about young talent from another team (not saying AGone or Prince Fielder)? That seems like something this team should be doing 200% of the time since no right minded free agent would want to come play here.

If I see your valid question, Danny, and raise you one.

Where's the accountability for player development?

Many folks on here want Terry Crowley to walk the plank for the obvious hitting woes of this team. I don't really have much of an opinion either way on the subject given the respect he has genuinely earned in the past versus what's happening now.

But where is the development on the farm? Are the Orioles that inept in the drafting department or are/were some players could've-been's?

Meanwhile, today's lunchtime water-cooler query: Has anyone been more disappointing in local sports that aren't actually in local sports than Dan Connolly? I start things off by saying NO.

Oops. Besides the usual typos, I didn't mean to start my post with an IF. Apologies to Danny.

For the sake of accuracy, the young pitchers threw 151 innings (Arrieta), 162 innings (Tillman) and 144 innings (Bergesen) last season. Most teams don't like to increase the work load on a young pitcher by more than 25-30 innings from one full season to the next. So each of them is likely to pitch anywhere from 175-190 innings this year before the team even thinks about shutting them down. Barring injury, they should all be able to pitch a full season next year. I really don't see this as a concern for any of them.

We have enough real problems without inventing new ones.

This ought to be good { Tillman ] Glad to report that Tripp is hitting 358 for Jacksonville AA. CSFul. kid we let go.

In the June MLB draft the O's should draft Manny Machado
Ht/Wt: 6-2/180 lbs
Position: SS
School: Brito HS
His batting avg is currently .379. The O's could certainly use his bat! I think the O's will be much better with the return of Pie and Brian Roberts in June and the call up of Arrieta and Tillman.

Re: pitchers' workloads. As I recall, the evidence was pretty clear that heavy workloads before they turn 25 or 26 at least has been well correlated with injury. I always thought Kerry Wood and Mark Pryor were poster children for that phenomenon


Why would they shut down Tillman early when he pitched untill September 26th last year? The big reason Matusz was shut down was because it was his first season in professional baseball, but even he pitched into the 2nd week.

Now Arrieta, maybe he'll get shut down early. I doubt Matusz will, and predicting Tillman being shut down early doesn't make any sense to me. Tillman missed only one start after being called up, which was his last start of the season. He also has the most professional experience out of the whole group too.


They may not shut Tillman down.

But given that he only pitched 165 last season, and the fact the the O's are likely to continue being horrid in the 2nd half, they may say 'why extend him?'....

Who knows with this team. It's such a disaster that nothing surprises anymore....

Jesus could return and still wouldn't be able to help with this organization win. Years of mismanagement, failed minor league system, nickel-dimming and lack of scouting, have totally depleted a once proud franchise. Peter Angelos is an effing cancer.

I agree many of the other bloggers who point the finger rightly at the extraordinarily poor record we have of scouting, drafting and player development. It is not a crap shoot. Sure there is some chance/luck involved but that has a way of evening out over time. Good scouting/drafting beats the odds -- just look at the Ravens. The O's fairly consistently are picking more poorly than the other teams. That is not bad luck; that is lack of skill and lack of investment in quality scouting personnel. Then we compound the problem with poor player development, poor training/conditioning (leading to more injuries). Tampa Bay was worse than the O's for years and now they are poised to be better than the O's for many more years. How did they do it? Smart drafting, sound player development and intelligent trades -- something we lack in all three areas. My son has grown to a teenager and NEVER seen the O's play a meaningful game in September or October. That is a pathetic comment on this pathetic organization.

Very disappointing so far, but perhaps we will reverse the trend of the last few years, where the O's started off well and faded terribly. Perhaps this year we will at least end the year on an upswing. FWIW, I agree with those that think we should be looking to trade Millwood, Wiggington, etc. for more prospects, and try to turn some of our own prospects and new ones for Prince Fielder, who would put some dents in the warehouse wall and give the O's their first legit clean-up hitter since Palmeiro.


Baseball is quite broken. I sat in my seats watching the Os play the Royals in a 90% vacant Camden Yards - watching Trembley choose to intentionally walk a .220 0-2 hitter to get to a .285 2-2 hitter -- and thought: "This is no fun." Especially staring at a bland Hilton Hotel instead of a beautiful skyline.

So I would fold this franchise. There is no dignity visiting this type of misery upon once-avid Maryland baseball fans. The Orioles rain depression and frustration upon Baltimore.

Compare this 13 year abomination to what Ted Leonsis did in turning the once-empty Verizon Center and the Capitals into the jewel and pride of Washington D.C.

In Baltimore, we took Maryland tax dollars, built a stadium, gave it on favorable business terms to a Maryland businessman. And this is what he has given us in return.

Why can't we have pitchers who can pitch 9 innings and no closer. We have guys who can get out right hander and guys who can get out left hander. But everyone thinks closer can get everone out. Make them starter and throught them 9 innings.

Why can't we have pitchers who can pitch 9 innings and no closer. We have guys who can get out right hander and guys who can get out left hander. But everyone thinks closer can get everone out. Make them starter and throw them 9 innings.

Why can't we have pitchers who can pitch 9 innings and no closer. We have guys who can get out right hander and guys who can get out left hander. But everyone thinks closer can get everone out. Make them starter and throw them 9 innings.

I think Tillman went to spring training with the attitude he had already 'made' the O's starting rotation. I think that putting him at AAA to start this season was a learning opportunity for Tillman to get too big of an ego just yet as he really hasn't accomplished anything at the major league level. His first couple of starts at AAA were a reflection of dejection. Someday Tillman might look back upon this AAA experience as the best thing that could have happened to him from a maturity perspective.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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