Chris Tillman is a great example of "better real life than fantasy pitcher." Three of his last four seasons have been solid ERA-wise despite a steady low-to-mid 4.00s FIP. The bottom line has been an average of 3.90 ERA in 190 innings with a modest 2.2 K/BB ratio supporting it. He's never posted a strikeout rate of 8.0 K/9 or better, nor has his walk rate ever been better than average. He is at the mercy of his BABIP and LOB rates, which landed at .293 and 68 percent, respectively, in 2015 when his ERA soared to 4.99. Perhaps most interesting is that he has deep, useful secondary arsenal. His three reliable secondaries have ranged from average to great, but they're usually supported by a mediocre-at-best fastball (except in 2014, which ended up being his best season). At 28, Tillman is unlikely to jump another level. He's the mid-rotation arm we've seen the last four years, best deployed in AL-only leagues, or better left for someone else's team.
Tillman (shoulder) has progressed to playing long toss, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. It was announced earlier this month that Tillman was expected to miss Opening Day with a shoulder ailment, but all the news since then seems to be positive. The right-hander says that his shoulder feels great, and the Orioles seem to be optimistic about his progress. Look for the three-time Opening Day starter to return to the rotation in early-April.
Tillman (shoulder) is already throwing and will play catch Tuesday, Eduardo Encina of The Baltimore Sun reports. It will be Tillman's fourth or fifth time playing catch since receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in December. The veteran right-hander is scheduled to throw a simulated game March 14 and could see his first real action on March 17 if all goes well. Tillman has been Baltimore's opening day starter for three consecutive years, a run which will likely come to an end this April. Kevin Gausman is the frontrunner to receive the start this season.
Tillman (shoulder) is not expected to make the Opening Day start due to shoulder issue, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. Tillman received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his shoulder in December, and he is apparently a few weeks behind his scheduled return. Although it seems likely, It's unclear if he'll start the season on the DL or not. Tillman has been the Orioles Opening Day starter each of the last three years.
Tillman says he's "confident" the shoulder issues that plagued him in 2016 will not be an issue moving forward, MASN Sports reports. Tillman went 16-6 with a 3.77 ERA over 172 innings last season. He spent time late in the year on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis. The right-hander returned to go 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA in his last four regular-season starts. "We worked hard this offseason to make sure it's behind me. A lot more shoulder stuff (exercises) than I'm used to, but we worked hard and I'm pretty confident it's behind me," he said.
Tillman and the Orioles avoided arbitration with a $10.05 million deal on Friday, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com reports. Tillman will be rewarded with a raise of nearly $4 million after one of the stronger seasons of his career. He registered a 3.77 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 172 innings during 2016. This will be the 28-year-old's final round of arbitration, with him likely to hit free agency next offseason.