Could Chris Tillman be headed for the minors?

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Chris Tillman throwing.jpgIt could happen, at least according to what Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com has heard:

According to some Orioles sources, Tillman
is not the front runner for the teams 5th job. Hernandez and Berken
would come first right now.

Tillman, who turns 22 in April, was 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 starts last season. He was widely considered the favorite to earn the fifth starter gig coming into camp and his 3.86 ERA in 16 1/3 innings this spring suggests that he has done little to lose the assignment.

However, including his excellent performance against the Red Sox this afternoon, David Hernandez now has a 3.00 ERA and an impressive 20/3 K/BB ratio over 15 spring innings. Jason Berken, previously thought of as a long-man or spot starter coming into camp, has a 2.84 ERA and 7/3 K/BB ratio in 12 2/3 innings.

Manager Dave Trembley described the competition like this:

“I would say we’re going to go 15 rounds with it,”
Trembley said. “We’re going to go the distance and keep battling and
keep
running these guys out here and try to make the right decision and the
best
decision. Guys are answering the bell and they’re making it real tough
for me.
And I like it.”

Besides trying to cram almost every sports cliche imaginable in one sentence, it’s becoming clear that Tillman isn’t the lock we all thought he was.
  

Must-Click Link: The Best “Irony Jerseys”

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Our old friend Joe Posnanski tackles a venerable topic over at MLB.com: guys you totally forgot played for a given team. Mostly superstars who had brief stops at non-signature stations at the end of their careers. Or guys, like Mike Piazza and Reggie Jackson, who were with a team for a blink of an eye in between more famous way stations.

We’ve all had this conversation before: remember Willie Mays with the Mets? Doc Gooden with the Astros? John Smoltz with the Cardinals? Heck, I had forgotten about Smoltz with the Cardinals and he was a star on my favorite team once upon a time.

Posnanski calls them “Irony Jerseys.” That’s pretty appropriate, as one can totally imagine someone buying, say, that Dale Murphy Rockies jersey in the name of obscurity. Whatever you call it, it’s a good read.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get my Ted Simmons Braves jersey for a party at some place uptown that you’ve probably never heard of.

The Mariners and Cardinals make a minor trade

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The Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals have made a minor trade. Seattle has acquired lefty Marco Gonzales from the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill.

Gonzales, the Cardinals’ first round pick out of Gonzaga back in 2013, is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. It’s been a good season, in which he has posted a 2.78 ERA and 64/17 K/BB ratio over 74.1 innings across two minor league levels. He’s pitched one game for St. Louis this year and got shelled, but we’ll leave that go.

O’Neill is a third rounder from 2013. He has hit .269/.344/.505 in five minor league seasons. He’s holding his own in Triple-A this year, smacking 19 homers in 93 games.