O’s might be open to trading Chris Tillman this winter

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Chris Tillman was a second-round pick of the Mariners back in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. He posted intriguing strikeout numbers at a few different levels of Single-A between 2006-2007 before being dealt in an offseason trade to the Orioles in 2008.

That’s when his profile really began rising.

Tillman registered a 3.18 ERA and 154/65 K/BB ratio across 135 2/3 innings for the O’s Triple-A affiliate in 2008, and was rated 22nd on Baseball America‘s Top 100 prospect rankings heading into the 2009 season. In July of 2009, he made his major league debut against the Royals to a good degree of hype.

But it’s been mostly downhill since then for Tillman, and now Roch Kubatko of MASN is hearing that Baltimore “would be willing to” trade the young righty this offseason if they’re able to find interest.

The 6-foot-5 Tillman posted a 5.52 ERA and 46/25 K/BB ratio in 62 innings this year in the majors and a 5.87 ERA over 53 2/3 innings in 2010. Even on an O’s roster that is short on reliable starting arms, he’s a longshot to land a spot in the 2012 Opening Day rotation. So rather than asking the 23-year-old to transition into a reliever, thus stunting his long-term potential, the O’s might go ahead and try to find him a new team.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.