Archive for February 23rd, 2011

What can we make of Chris Tillman?

There’s something different in the Sarasota air this spring.  Can you feel it?

I think it’s called stability.

Due to the volume and quality of the acquisitions made during the offseason, spring training for the Orioles in 2011 figures to differ from previous years in that there won’t be many meaningful position battles that will take place during camp.  With Derek Lee, Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy, Vladimir Guerrero, and others stepping in to fill obvious holes, one of the only real unanswered questions centers around who will fill out the Orioles starting rotation.

Barring injury or catastrophe, we can basically pencil in (1) Jeremy Guthrie, (2) Brian Matusz, and (3) Justin Duchscherer.  After that?  Given that both experienced some success last season, you would have to figure that Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergesen would be the prohibitive favorites to round out the starting five.  If so, then Chris Tillman and Zach Britton would return to AAA to continue their development.

What’s interesting to me, however, is that I’m not so sure many fans would handicap the AAA depth chart thusly: Tillman and Britton.  I think there is a general sense that Britton might have surpassed Tillman and is next in line to be called up.

Should it comes to pass, it would mark a notable and at least somewhat surprising shift for the centerpiece of the Erik Bedard trade, from likely front-of-the-rotation starter, to “organizational depth” and taking a number with Troy Patton.

How did we get here?

(more…)

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