It 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
running these guys out here and try to make the right decision and the
decision. Guys are answering the bell and they’re making it real tough
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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.