There are a lot of these sorts of deals around — former player agrees to hang out at spring training and work with select players on his area of expertise. Kenny Lofton is a great choice for this in Indians camp. The stuff he did best is the stuff that is probably the most teachable: making smart decisions on the basepaths, positioning oneself correctly on defensive. No, he can’t teach his speed, but any little bit helps coming from a guy with his track record.
The unusual thing about this deal — and I’m really only half-joking — is that it’s not at all out of the realm of possibility that he’d be a better choice for the Indians’ roster than some of the guys who will ultimately make it.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.