With an injury to Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman’s shoulder, should they sign another starter?
Back in February Tillman received a platelet-rich plasma injection, also known as a PRP injection. Back in August, Tillman went onto the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was cautious about Tillman’s injury, but he did say that he is hopeful that the starter could pitch for most of the season.
“We are going to make sure we get it right. This is as fast as we feel comfortable going safely,” Showalter said to MLB.com in February. “I’ve got high hopes that when we get this resolved, he pitches all year for us.”
Although the Orioles tried to take the safe route for Tillman’s recovery, things seemed to get worse. On Sunday, Tillman’s arm flared up once again.
After just 10 warm-up pitches, Tillman started to feel discomfort in his shoulder.
“It’s the same thing he missed time with last year,” Showalter said to The Baltimore Sun on Sunday. “He could start back from scratch. We think we know what we’re dealing with physically. If that is still the same, there hasn’t been some change in that, he should be able to pitch at some point — just not quite as we had hoped. The worse case scenario for me — well, not worse — but he kind of starts over from scratch and stays down here in extended spring. It looks like he’s got a chance to be left here with [minor league medical coordinator] Dave Walker, but I’m hoping something changes in the next week. He may try it again, I don’t know, or we may get back and he’s headed for a second opinion. This is a big year for him.”
There are a few scenarios to work out. Who could Baltimore sign to replace Tillman for his upcoming starts? Names like Jered Weaver, Matt Harrison (hasn’t pitched since 2015), Doug Fister, Henderson Alvarez (hasn’t pitched since 2015), and Tim Lincecum have shown up on the lists of free agents that could be signed for cheap.
Every single pitcher previously listed has had middling stats over the past few seasons. Each signing would be a depth move to sure up the back end of the rotation and none of them would necessarily be game-changers. Although this is the case, the Orioles should look into adding another starter.
Let’s start with the least plausible signings out of the group: Lincecum, Weaver and Alvarez.
Lincecum returned from injury (hip) and returned to pitch for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He had a record of 2-6 and an ERA of 9.16 in 2016. He would also prefer to pitch on the West Coast.
Another group of options are in-house with Baltimore. Among those options are Gabriel Ynoa, Logan Verrett, Mike Wright, and Tyler Wilson. Ynoa was a starter in the New York Mets organization before joining the Orioles. Verrett was also with the Mets and used as a swingman. Wilson and Wright made a few starts with Baltimore in 2016.
Could they possibly step up to the plate to aid the Orioles rotation?