Bizarre report: Manny Ramirez might play winter ball

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ESPNDeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas has a report up presenting text messages from Manny Ramirez saying he’s interested in playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic for the Aguilas Cibaenes.

The odd thing is that text messages were actually written more than two weeks ago, and Rojas gives no indication of whom they happened to be addressed to.

According to Rojas, Ramirez wrote the following text messages on April 11 and 12 respectively:

“Now I have an Aguilas hat.”
“Tell the fans to not despair because winter ball is coming soon.”

Rojas, though, did manage to get a direct quote from Ramirez on Thursday, saying “Now I’m getting ready to defend the 21st crown of the Aguilas.”

If Ramirez opted to return to MLB following his winter ball stint, he’d still presumably have to serve a 100-game drug suspension. Realistically, he’d only have the slightest chance of drawing minimal interest next spring if he got some team to do him a favor and sign him now, allowing him to serve the suspension over the rest of this season.

Chris Tillman returns to the Orioles on a one-year deal

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Chris Tillman is returning to the Orioles on a one-year, $3 million deal. Jon Heyman was the first to report the deal. Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com says that Tillman chose the Orioles over accepting minor league offers with the Tigers or Blue Jays.

Tillman, 29, has spent his entire major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, he was awful in 2017 and missed nearly six weeks with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.

Nevertheless, the Orioles are thin on pitching, so he’ll likely join Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Andrew Cashner in the O’s rotation.