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MLB announces pace of play initiatives for '18

MLB.com @_dadler

Major League Baseball will implement new pace of play rules for the 2018 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday, but there will be no pitch clock this season.

After consulting with the MLB Players Association and all 30 clubs, MLB announced its slate of rules changes, among them a limit on mound visits per game.

Major League Baseball will implement new pace of play rules for the 2018 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday, but there will be no pitch clock this season.

After consulting with the MLB Players Association and all 30 clubs, MLB announced its slate of rules changes, among them a limit on mound visits per game.

A pitch clock -- giving the pitcher a certain amount of time to deliver the ball -- had been one of the major proposals considered. MLB decided to defer implementation of a pitch clock, as well as a between-batter timer, in order to give players an opportunity to respond to the new rules and positively affect pace of play throughout the 2018 season.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the Players Association to take concrete steps to address pace of play with the cooperation of players," Manfred said in a statement. "My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions."

New phone lines connecting the video review rooms and the dugout will be installed and monitored, limiting the ability of teams to steal signs, which is viewed as a contributing factor to the increasing number of mound visits. Rules governing when players can and cannot leave the batter's box between pitches, instituted during the 2017 season, remain in effect.

"Players were involved in the pace of game discussion from Day 1, and are committed to playing a crisp and exciting brand of baseball for the fans, but they remain concerned about rule changes that could alter the outcome of games and the fabric of the game itself -- now or in the future," said Tony Clark, the MLBPA executive director.

Here is a breakdown of the new rules:

• Mound visits: Mound visits will be limited to six per team per nine innings. Teams will receive an additional visit for every extra inning played. Any manager, coach or player visit to the mound will count as a mound visit. Visits to the mound to clean cleats in rainy weather, to check on an injury or potential injury or after the announcement of an offensive substitution are excepted. Also, normal communication between player and pitcher that do not require either to vacate their position on the field do not count as a visit. If a team is out of visits, the umpire will have discretion to grant a visit at the catcher's request if he believes there has been a cross-up between the pitcher and catcher.

• Between-inning breaks: As has been the case since the start of the 2016 season, a timer will count down between innings from 2:05 for breaks in locally televised games, from 2:25 in nationally televised games and from 2:55 for tiebreaker and postseason games. The difference now is that at the 25-second mark, the umpire will signal for the final warmup pitch and the pitcher must throw it before the clock hits 20. The batter will be announced at the 20-second mark and the pitcher must begin his windup to throw the first pitch of the inning as the clock hits zero. Another important change is that a pitcher is no longer guaranteed eight warmup pitches between innings. However, he can take as many as he wants within the countdown parameters noted above. The timer will start on the last out of the inning, unless the pitcher is on base, on deck or at bat, in which case the timer shall begin when the pitcher leaves the dugout for the mound. If the final out of the inning is subject to replay, the timer begins when the umpire signals the out.

• Timing of pitcher changes: The timing clock -- as listed above -- also applies to pitching changes, and it will begin as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track.

• Instant replay: All club video review rooms will now receive direct slow-motion camera angles in order to speed up challenges and the resulting review. New phone lines will connect the rooms to the dugout and will be monitored to prevent their use for sign stealing.

Summary of 2018 Rule Changes

I) Mound Visits 
1. Number
A. 2018 Championship Season. Mound visits without a pitching change shall be limited to six (6) per team, per nine innings. For any extra-innings played, each Club shall be entitled to one additional non-pitching change mound visit per inning.  
B. OBR 5.10(l). Official Baseball Rule 5.10(l), which governs mound visits by a manager or coach, remains in effect (i.e., a pitcher must be removed on the second visit by a manager/coach in an inning). 

2. Definition of Mound Visit. A manager or coach trip to the mound to meet with the pitcher shall constitute a visit. A player leaving his position to confer with the pitcher, including a pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player, shall also constitute a mound visit, regardless of where the visit occurs or the length of the visit, except that the following shall not constitute mound visits:
A. Discussions between pitchers and position player(s) that (i) occur between batters in the normal course of play and do not require either the position player(s) or the pitcher to relocate;
B. Visits by position players to the mound to clean spikes in rainy conditions;
C. Visits to the mound due to an injury or potential injury of the pitcher; and
D. Visits to the mound after the announcement of an offensive substitution.

3. Cross-Up in Signs. In the event a team has exhausted its allotment of mound visits in a game (or extra inning) and the home plate umpire determines that the catcher and pitcher did not have a shared understanding of the location or type of pitch that had been signaled by the catcher (otherwise referred to as a "cross-up"), the home plate umpire may, upon request of the catcher, allow the catcher to make a brief mound visit. Any mound visit resulting from a cross-up prior to a team exhausting its allotted number of visits shall count against a team's total number of allotted mound visits.

II) Inning Breaks and Pitching Changes
1. Time of Break. The timer will count down from 2:05 for breaks in locally televised championship season games, from 2:25 for breaks in nationally televised championship season games, and from 2:55 for tie-breaker and postseason games as follows: 

Time Remaining | Required Action
25 seconds: 
Umpire signals pitcher to complete last warmup pitch.
20 seconds: Batter's announced and must leave on-deck circle, batter walk-up music shall begin, and pitcher shall complete last warmup pitch.
0 seconds: Pitcher must begin motion to deliver first pitch.

A. The pitcher may take as many warm-up pitches as he desires, but regardless of how many warm-up pitches he has thrown, he must deliver his final warm-up pitch at least 20 seconds prior to the end of an inning break or pitching change. OBR 5:07 will be revised to reflect that pitcher is not guaranteed eight warm-up pitches. 
B. The umpire shall signal for the last warm-up pitch at 25 seconds, unless a special circumstance (as described below) applies. 
C. The batter must leave the on-deck circle and proceed directly to the batter's box when the pitcher throws his final warm-up pitch.  
D. The pitcher must begin his motion for the first pitch as soon as the batter steps into the box and is alert to the pitcher; provided, however, the pitcher cannot begin his motion for the first pitch more than five seconds prior to the end of an inning break or pitching change so that television is ensured to be back from commercial break. 

2. Special Circumstances. A Player will be excused from following the time limits set forth above if the umpire determines that any of the following special circumstances are present:  
A. There is a delay in normal warm-up activities during the inning break due to no fault of the Players (e.g., injury or other medical emergency, equipment issues, playing field or grounds crew issues);
B. The umpire believes the pitcher is at a legitimate risk of injury if he does not receive additional time to throw warm-up pitches; 
C. The umpire believes the batter is at a legitimate risk of injury if he does not receive additional time to enter the batter's box; 
D. Any other special circumstances which, in the umpire's judgment, warrant allowing the pitcher to throw after the deadline. 

3. Start of Timer for Inning Breaks
A. Last Out of Inning. The timer shall start on the last out of an inning for an inning break.   
B. Close Plays/Replay Review. The Field Timing Coordinator shall delay the start of the timer if the final out of the inning is a close play that may be reviewed by instant replay. If the final out of the inning is determined in instant replay, the timer shall start as soon as the out is signaled by the umpire.  
C. Pitcher or Catcher On Base/On Deck. If a pitcher ends an inning on base, on deck, or at bat, the timer shall reset when the pitcher leaves the dugout for the mound. If a catcher ends the inning on base, on deck, or at bat, the timer will reset when the catcher enters the dugout (and another catcher must begin warming up the pitcher). 
 
4. Start of Timer for Pitching Changes
A. Pitcher Crosses Warning Track. The pitching change timer shall begin as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track (or foul line for on-field bullpens) to enter the game. In the case of a pitching change that occurs during an inning break, the timer shall reset if previously started as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track (or foul line for on-field bullpens).  
B. Relief Pitchers Must Promptly Leave Bullpen. Relief pitchers shall leave the bullpen promptly following an appropriate signal by their manager or coach. During the playing of God Bless America, or any other extended inning event previously approved by the Office of the Commissioner, the timer will begin at the conclusion of the song or event. 
 
5. Enforcement. Umpires shall direct players and enforce the inning break and pitching change time limits on the field. Players who consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits will be subject to progressive discipline for just cause by the Office of the Commissioner pursuant to Article XI(C) of the Basic Agreement.

III. Batter's Box Rule
The batter's box rule that was in effect during the 2017 season will remain in effect during the 2018 season.

IV. Video Replay Review
The following adjustments will be made to the video replay technology:
A. Install capability for all Club video review rooms to receive direct slow motion camera angles for the 2018 championship season; 
B. Install new phone lines connecting the video review rooms and the dugout, and monitor the communications over those lines to prevent their use for sign-stealing.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

How these 5 teams can still win the offseason

Cards, Brewers among clubs a move or two away from winter dominance
MLB.com @RichardJustice

It would seem the Astros have already won the offseason. When the World Series winner gets better, that has to be the automatic call. In a typical offseason, we would have already shipped the big shiny trophy to Astros GM Jeff Luhnow.

Here's a preliminary ranking of the offseason winners:

It would seem the Astros have already won the offseason. When the World Series winner gets better, that has to be the automatic call. In a typical offseason, we would have already shipped the big shiny trophy to Astros GM Jeff Luhnow.

Here's a preliminary ranking of the offseason winners:

1. Astros
2. Yankees
3. Angels
4. Brewers
5. Cardinals

Honorable mention: Twins, Mets, Blue Jays, Padres, Athletics, Rockies

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

But wait, there's still time. Polls remain open. Even with Eric Hosmer (Padres) and Yu Darvish (Cubs) off the market, the list of unsigned free agents includes a bunch of difference-makers, including starters Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, outfielder J.D. Martinez, third baseman Mike Moustakas, first baseman Logan Morrison and closer Greg Holland.

Hot Stove Tracker

Let's run down our list, offer a modest proposal or two and check out what the final standings could look like:

Cardinals

Modest proposal: Sign Holland and Moustakas.

Bottom line: Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has rebuilt his team since Opening Day 2017, and the offseason additions of left fielder Marcell Ozuna, starting pitcher Miles Mikolas and reliever Luke Gregerson have been nice finishing touches.

Even if they don't catch the Cubs in the NL Central, the Cardinals are positioned to return to the postseason. But they could make up more ground on the Cubs with another addition or two.

Brewers

Modest proposal: Sign Arrieta, trade for Rays right-hander Chris Archer.

Bottom line: The Brewers' solid offseason has included the additions of outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, but they still could use help in the rotation, and while signing Wade Miley to a Minor League contract could pay off, Arrieta and Archer could vault Milwaukee into the top spot.

Video: Brewers, Twins vying for sign free agent Jake Arrieta

Twins

Modest proposal: Sign Lynn.

Bottom line: The Twins have already had a great offseason with the trade for right-hander Jake Odorizzi to go with the earlier additions of relievers Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney and the signing of right-hander Anibal Sanchez. But with ace Ervin Santana sidelined until May or June because of a finger injury and with their young starters still figuring things out, the Twins could go a long way toward flat-out winning the offseason with one more starting pitcher.

Yankees

Modest proposal: Sign either Moustakas or one of the available starting pitchers.

Bottom line: The Yankees have been quiet since acquiring reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton in December, and that should worry the rest of baseball. GM Brian Cashman would like to trade center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to free up payroll, and don't discount his ability to make one more acquisition and push the Astros from the top spot.

Angels

Modest proposal: Sign a starting pitcher.

Bottom line: Angels GM Billy Eppler has had a huge offseason already with the additions of Shohei Ohtani, Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart and the re-signing of Justin Upton. If the Angels knew starters Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney could get through the season healthy, they'd be ready to roll. But all of those pitchers have had health issues in recent seasons, so a veteran addition to the rotation would help the Angels make up more ground on the Astros in the American League West and further position them for a postseason run.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels

Lincecum reportedly has MLB offer -- not from SF

Giants apparently aren't only club interested in two-time NL Cy Young Award winner
MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

Tim Lincecum has a guaranteed Major League contract offer from a team other than the Giants, according to SB Nation's Grant Brisbee.

Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2016 with the Angels, reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball during a showcase for about 20 scouts outside Seattle on Thursday.

Tim Lincecum has a guaranteed Major League contract offer from a team other than the Giants, according to SB Nation's Grant Brisbee.

Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2016 with the Angels, reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball during a showcase for about 20 scouts outside Seattle on Thursday.

Hot Stove Tracker

The 33-year-old right-hander was a four-time NL All-Star in nine seasons with the Giants, whom he helped win three World Series championships in 2010, '12 and '14. His final season with San Francisco was cut short when he underwent hip surgery to repair a torn labrum in '15.

From 2008-11, Lincecum posted a 2.81 ERA with 10.0 K/9 innings with the Giants, becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards in his first two full seasons (2008-09). He gave up one run on three hits over eight innings, striking out 10 Rangers in San Francisco's title-clinching victory in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, the franchise's first championship since moving from New York in 1958.

The Angels signed Lincecum to a one-year deal in May 2016, and he made nine starts over which he posted a 9.16 ERA. His fastball velocity averaged 88.4 mph, down from a mid-90s fastball he featured when he first arrived in the big leagues.

In Thursday's showcase, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that the diminutive Lincecum had a new physique, looking "ripped," without "an ounce of fat on him."

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Tim Lincecum

Yanks GM Cashman: 'I need another ring'

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Out of respect for what the Astros, Indians and Red Sox accomplished last season, Brian Cashman refuses to classify his Yankees as World Series favorites, but the general manager is making his objective clear for the upcoming season.

"I need another ring," Cashman said. "I've got rings, but there's other guys in there that don't have rings. Some have rings somewhere else. They want a Yankee ring. I think having a ring with the 'NY' on it means more than any of the other ones out there, in my opinion."

TAMPA, Fla. -- Out of respect for what the Astros, Indians and Red Sox accomplished last season, Brian Cashman refuses to classify his Yankees as World Series favorites, but the general manager is making his objective clear for the upcoming season.

"I need another ring," Cashman said. "I've got rings, but there's other guys in there that don't have rings. Some have rings somewhere else. They want a Yankee ring. I think having a ring with the 'NY' on it means more than any of the other ones out there, in my opinion."

Video: Justice discusses potential Yanks-Astros rematch

Cashman has scored four World Series rings in his 20 years as GM, winning three straight championships from 1998-2000 and again in '09. He was the assistant GM when the Yankees won their 1996 title.

Coming off a 91-win regular season that saw the Yankees advance to within one victory of the World Series, and with the addition of National League MVP Award winner Giancarlo Stanton in a December trade with the Marlins, Cashman said that he senses the spring buzz "is a lot louder and more positive."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I guess time will tell, but there is a lot of excitement about what we did last year and the offseason additions," Cashman said. "We've got ground to make up. Despite what happened in the postseason, the Red Sox won the division, and Cleveland and Houston each won 100-plus games. They were the best teams in the American League. We know our work is cut out for us."

Shock and awe

Brett Gardner spent part of his Monday morning hitting alongside Stanton underneath the first-base grandstand at George M. Steinbrenner Field, marveling at how the ball echoed off the slugger's bat. When they had completed their rounds, Aaron Judge stepped into the box.

"I wish I could feel what they feel when they hit a baseball, and be able to hit it like they do," Gardner said. "It's pretty humbling for me to get in there sandwiched between those two guys. It just kind of reminds me that my job is to get on base and let those guys hit the ball over the fence."

Gardner said that last year's late run was a welcome change for the Yankees, and he sees the American League Championship Series loss as an appetizer for what is yet to come.

"Yankee Stadium, the way it was last October, that's something that none of us that were on the field will forget," Gardner said. "I've experienced that before several years ago, but it was good to feel again. A lot of those guys, that's the first time they've experienced something like that.

"I know that's one thing that Giancarlo is excited about, coming over here, is having a chance to play into October. I think in Miami, it was a difficult situation for him to be in. He's excited to be over here and have an opportunity to win and play in New York. We're obviously excited to have him."

Third degree

Miguel Andujar focused on his defensive footwork during his winter workouts in the Dominican Republic, and the 22-year-old third-base prospect believes that he is ready to take on a starting role in the big leagues.

"During the offseason, I was working with a coach out there, doing a lot of work on my consistency and rhythm," Andujar said through an interpreter on Monday. "And the same I've been doing here with [infield coach Carlos Mendoza]. That's the key. I want to be more consistent and grounded when playing defense."

Video: Quick Hits: Torres and Andujar

Infielders Danny Espinosa, Jace Peterson, Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade will also see reps at third base, but Andujar's focus is solely on the hot corner. Andujar's bat made noise last year, including three hits and four RBIs in his June 28 debut against the White Sox.

"It was an exciting moment and an exciting experience, to be able to be here and learn from and have fun with the other guys," Andujar said. "After I got sent down, it served as motivation to me to do the best I could and the best I can to get back here."

He said it: "We surprised a lot of people. It was exciting, not just for the organization and the players, but the fan base. To see all the talent we have, all these guys coming up, really being ready for prime time. I think being able to add the NL MVP to an already good lineup is exciting. I think that it has the potential to be pretty special." -- Gardner

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees

Rizzo returns, reflects on somber trip home

On meeting with families of victims of Florida high school shooting: 'It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do'
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said it was important for him to go home to Parkland, Fla., to be with family and neighbors after the horrific shooting at his high school last week in which 17 people were killed.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Rizzo said Monday about meeting with families of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "You don't know what to say, there's nothing you can say. When people get shot, you're grateful they're alive. When they pass away, you're grateful you knew them. Just to see how real it is, it's sad and it's why I'm so proud of what they're doing back in Parkland and how everyone is coming together. They're going to turn this tragedy into something positive."

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said it was important for him to go home to Parkland, Fla., to be with family and neighbors after the horrific shooting at his high school last week in which 17 people were killed.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Rizzo said Monday about meeting with families of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "You don't know what to say, there's nothing you can say. When people get shot, you're grateful they're alive. When they pass away, you're grateful you knew them. Just to see how real it is, it's sad and it's why I'm so proud of what they're doing back in Parkland and how everyone is coming together. They're going to turn this tragedy into something positive."

Rizzo spoke at a prayer vigil at Pine Trails Park the day after the shooting. It's the same park where he's hosted a charity walk for six years. This was different. Rizzo knew football coach Aaron Feis, who was killed in the shooting. Rizzo's brother John played for Feis. Rizzo's agent also lost a family member in the shooting.

"It's gut-wrenching," Rizzo said about when he first heard the news. "You just go numb. ... There's so many different things going on. One of the teachers who is another hero ... I know very personally and she was in there saving people's lives and tying tourniquets on. You don't know what you're going to do in that situation."

Rizzo has yet to decide how he'll honor the victims. Monday was the Cubs' first full-squad workout day and the first time he could get back to some sort of normalcy.

"My first instinct was just kind of numb," Rizzo said about when he first heard the news. "The more I sat and thought about it, I felt helpless here. That's where I grew up in Parkland. I got in trouble there, I succeeded there, I learned how to be who I am because of Parkland, because of Stoneman Douglas. To be across the country and not be there and to find out some very close people have lost loved ones, to be there to help them and support them was very important to me."

He wanted to speak at the vigil because of that connection.

"Obviously, there needs to be change," Rizzo said. "I don't know what that is. ... You just hope that somewhere up the line of command, people are thinking the same things that a lot of innocent kids are thinking. Why am I scared to go to school? Why am I scared to say goodbye to my son or daughter? God forbid, someone was in an argument with someone they loved that day. It's a bad time right now in the country with what's going on with all these shootings.

"I said there needs to be change -- I don't know what the change needs to be," he said. "I'm just really proud of those kids and how they're coming together and becoming one in Parkland. It's really inspiring to see and it makes me proud."

While he was home, Rizzo met with the families of some of the victims and also went to the local hospital to visit those who were wounded.

"It was weird," he said. "It's such a proud community, such a tight-knit community. To see it happened at the field where I do my charity walk, good times there, and you see in the blink of an eye, everyone is upside down. I'm very proud of the community and what they're doing."

He got back to work Monday, talking to new infield coach Brian Butterfield and attending a team meeting. He'll try to get back to a normal routine, but he won't forget what happened in Parkland.

"They'll be in my hearts every day, they'll be in my thoughts every day," Rizzo said. "I didn't know most of the kids personally. They'll be in my thoughts and prayers every day. To experience that -- I go to sleep at night and things start spinning through my head. I can't imagine how it is for the people affected.

"It's crazy to see that happen at home. We all think we're invincible to it. It could happen to any one of us."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo

The wait is over: See Giancarlo don Pinstripes

In terms of offseason splashes, the Yankees made arguably the biggest when they acquired Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins back in December. His new teammates were obviously excited about him joining the mix, as were Yankees fans -- while fans of other teams probably grew more fearful of the Yankees' powerful offensive attack than ever. 

Felix, Yadi lead select group in it for long haul

With Hosmer leaving KC, here's a look at players who have stuck with one club
MLB.com @williamfleitch

Over the weekend, Eric Hosmer agreed to a big honking eight-year, $144 million contract with the Padres, a team eager to show it's ready to contend in the near future, for better or for worse. Hosmer is many things, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, a one-time All-Star, a World Series champion, but more than anything else, he has been a Royal.

Hosmer, along with Salvador Perez, is the physical avatar of one of the two most successful eras in Royals history. He started out as the superstar prospect who pointed to a better future, then became the slightly disappointing young player once he reached the Majors, to the leader of a team that won a World Series, to a legitimate top-shelf down-ballot MVP Award candidate, to ultimately the most Royal thing of all: A free agent who left town.

Over the weekend, Eric Hosmer agreed to a big honking eight-year, $144 million contract with the Padres, a team eager to show it's ready to contend in the near future, for better or for worse. Hosmer is many things, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, a one-time All-Star, a World Series champion, but more than anything else, he has been a Royal.

Hosmer, along with Salvador Perez, is the physical avatar of one of the two most successful eras in Royals history. He started out as the superstar prospect who pointed to a better future, then became the slightly disappointing young player once he reached the Majors, to the leader of a team that won a World Series, to a legitimate top-shelf down-ballot MVP Award candidate, to ultimately the most Royal thing of all: A free agent who left town.

Hosmer played seven years in Kansas City, and he is among the all-time franchise leaders in several categories, from homers (eighth) to RBIs (eighth) to hits (ninth) to games played (11th). (It is worth noting that he's not in the top 25 in all-time Royals bWAR, even though current and recent Royals like Alex Gordon, eighth, Lorenzo Cain, 13th, and Perez, 21st, all are).

Video: Butera, Duffy and Herrera react to Hosmer departure

Had Hosmer re-signed with the Royals, like many suspected he would, he likely would have moved into the top five, and maybe even the top two (he wasn't catching George Brett in anything) in almost every Royals career category. He would have been Mr. Royal, the representation of this era of Royals baseball in a way similar to the way Brett was in the '80s.

But he didn't, because players of course rarely do anymore. It has become an article of faith that the days of Stan Musial and Carl Yastrzemski and Cal Ripken, Hall of Famers staying with the same franchises their entire careers, are long in the past, though it is worth noting that Chipper Jones, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Larkin, Ron Santo, Jim Rice, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken have all been inducted in the last decade. (And Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter are coming in the next few years.) But certainly finding guys who stay with one team their whole career are few and far between. You'd be surprised how few players have even made it deep into their second contract with one team.

So, today, we look at the longest-tenured active careers with one team, for both pitchers and hitters. It can be a little tricky for pitchers, because, due to injuries, sometimes pitchers can play for one franchise for a decade without actually, you know, pitching all that much. So we'll look at the top 10 in career innings pitched for one team for pitchers (which eliminated some relievers, but not all), and total games played for hitters. Hosmer had a chance to top the latter list someday. But that opportunity ended this weekend. He'll have to buy his own beers in Kansas City from now on. (Thanks to Baseball Reference's Play Index for the research help.)

PITCHERS

10. Dallas Keuchel, Astros, 984 2/3 IP (debuted in 2012)
Keuchel had a 5.21 ERA in his first two seasons over 38 starts before turning it on in 2014 and then winning the Cy Young in '15. It feels like Keuchel just got here, another reason it's so amazing to see him in the top 10 already. (No. 11 on this list is Chris Archer, by the way.)

Video: Keuchel discusses pitching again in Spring Training

9. Julio Teheran, Braves, 1,009 2/3 IP (debuted in 2011)
Teheran first appeared in Atlanta when he was 20, which is why it feels like he's been around forever even though he only turned 27 a couple of weeks ago. For what it's worth, Greg Maddux didn't even get to Atlanta until he was 27.

8. Corey Kluber, Indians, 1,091 IP (debuted in 2011)
Kluber has now thrown more than 203 innings a season for four consecutive seasons, and that's not even counting the postseason. He didn't make his first start for Cleveland until he was Teheran's age. The Indians have him under contract through 2021, when he will be 34.

7. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, 1,099 2/3 IP (debuted in 2010)
It's a little disconcerting seeing Strasburg on this list, isn't it? It seems like just yesterday that he was the phenom who was going to change the sport. Also: So much of his career has been about reducing his innings. But here he is. The Nationals will be paying him through 2030, by the way.

Video: Strasburg is the No. 5 starting pitcher right now

6. Chris Tillman, Orioles, 1,118 1/3 IP (debuted in 2009)
A free agent this offseason, news broke Monday that Tillman is returning to the O's on a one-year deal, according to multiple sources. Considering he had a 7.84 ERA last season, perhaps he should consider himself fortunate to be pitching in 2018 at all.

5. Homer Bailey, Reds, 1,124 IP (debuted in 2007)
There is a special slot on this list for Bailey, who is here because of the rarely used "they can't get rid of his contract so let's call it 'longevity'" principle. The Reds are hoping Bailey can "lead' their rotation, which might be asking a lot of a guy who hasn't had an ERA under 5.56 since 2014. They owe him $49 million over the next two seasons (counting a $5 million buyout after 2019), so, suffice it to say, Reds fans will still be seeing plenty of the Christian Bale doppleganger for a while.

4. Madison Bumgarner, Giants, 1,508 2/3 IP (debuted in 2009)
Now we're getting somewhere. The final four pitchers on this list are all staples, the faces of their franchises for a decade now. Bumgarner finally had the injury season in 2017 many had feared, but because of a bike crash rather than wear and tear. He is somehow still only 28.

Video: Bumgarner discusses his excitement for 2018 season

3. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, 1,891 2/3 IP (debuted in 2005)
Wainwright has had the two worst seasons of his career the past two years, and there has been enough worry about him that he felt compelled to have a news conference last week saying he'd no longer be taking retirement questions. The Cardinals still want him to hold a spot in the rotation or, failing that, at least the chance to bow out gracefully. He'll remain beloved no matter what happens: Clinching a World Series your rookie season as a closer and then becoming an ace over the next few years will do that.

2. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, 1,935 IP (debuted in 2008)
He's about 400 innings behind Sandy Koufax, and he's now almost the same age Koufax was when he retired. (He'll turn 30 a month from today.) Whether he passes Koufax depends entirely on whether or not he re-signs with the Dodgers at the end of the year. He may have a few outside suitors.

1. Felix Hernandez, Mariners, 2,502 1/3 IP (debuted in 2005)
It was the worst year of King Felix's career, though his strikeouts crept up a tick, maybe a positive sign moving forward? The Mariners are not asking too much from him anymore; they'd just like him to have a smile on his face again.(Pssst: A playoff appearance might help that.)

HITTERS

10. Brett Gardner, Yankees, 1,218 games (debuted in 2008)
Usually you have to be a Hall of Famer for a Yankee to make this list, but Gardner has proven just handy enough to stick around for a decade now. It probably ends this season: He's a free agent after the World Series. (No. 11 on the list is Freddie Freeman, by the way.)

Video: Outlook: Gardner is productive but may not match 2017

9. Elvis Andrus, Rangers, 1,379 games (debuted in 2009)
How have we gotten so impossibly old that baby-faced Andrus is a grizzled veteran now? We're going to blink and Rougned Odor is going to be 53.

8. Gordon, Royals, 1,412 games (debuted in 2007)
Gordon holds the Bailey spot on this list, a guy who's going to remain here not because of his play, but because of his dreadful contract. It's possible the Royals had Gordon in mind when deciding not to give Hosmer that eighth year.

7. Joey Votto, Reds, 1,430 games (debuted in 2007)
Votto maybe had his best season in 2017 and would have been this scribe's choice for National League MVP. If the Reds haven't traded Votto already, they certainly aren't going to now. His contract could go all the way through 2024, when he'll be 40 and probably still getting on base in half his at-bats.

Video: Votto on gaining weight, creating winning culture

6. Ryan Braun, Brewers, 1,458 (debuted in 2007)
Braun was expected to be trade bait at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last season, but the Brewers ended up in a pennant chase, so they needed him. Braun could have been a Brewers legend if it hadn't been for, well, you know, but even with all the outside unpleasantness, the Brewers have gotten a great deal on his contract, and he's still cheap for the next three years. He may end up retiring a Brewer after all?

5. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox, 1,503 games (debuted in 2006)
A moment to remember players who dropped out of the top 12 last year: Andre Ethier (whom the Dodgers aren't bringing back), Evan Longoria (traded to San Francisco) and Andrew McCutchen (ditto). Laser Show is going to play second base for the Red Sox until he dies, and probably a little while after that.

4. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, 1,552 games (debuted in 2005)
It's funny to think that when Zimmerman was a prospect, we all referred to him as "a player in the Expos' organization." He never wore Montreal garb, sadly, but he did hit a career high in homers last year.

Video: Outlook: Zimmerman may have trouble repeating '17

3. David Wright, Mets, 1,583 games (debuted in 2004)
Included because he's under contact and wants to come back. He hasn't made it into a game since May 27, 2016. The Mets insurers are rooting for him to come back, and so should you.

2. Joe Mauer, Twins, 1,731 games (debuted in 2004)
Mauer's mammoth contract finally expires after this year, and while it might not have been the most efficient spending of cash, the guy is still productive and useful. Paul Molitor thinks he's "going to be a lifelong Twin," but that might be optimistic. Amazing stat: Mauer has played in 14 postseason games and lost 13 of them.

1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals, 1,747 games (debuted in 2004)
It really is remarkable that the top guy on this list is an everyday catcher. Carson Kelly is knocking on his door, but Yadi is signed through 2020 and remains the most beloved Cardinal since Ozzie Smith. He'll be allowed to play as long as he wants in one capacity or another. He's 18th in all-time games caught; if he catches 130 this year (and he's only been under that once in the last decade), he'll pass Lance Parrish for 12th.

Video: Outlook: Molina could continue power surge

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Evaluating best potential fits for Moustakas

MLB.com @DKramer_

Coming off a career year, and in a thin free-agent market at third base, Mike Moustakas appeared to be in line to land one of the more hefty contracts for a position player this offseason. But this winter's stalled market, the loaded lineup hitting free agency next year and the Draft pick compensation attached to him for turning down a qualifying offer from the Royals may have created apprehension that has left the two-time All-Star unsigned as Spring Training begins.

Other than J.D. Martinez, who is also still seeking a job, Moustakas is arguably the top hitter available. He was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year last season after setting career highs in home runs (38, a Royals record), runs scored (75), RBIs (85) and slugging percentage (.521) a year removed from tearing his right ACL just 27 games into the 2016 season. He also boasts a postseason pedigree as a key cog in the Royals' back-to-back AL pennant runs in '14 and '15.

Coming off a career year, and in a thin free-agent market at third base, Mike Moustakas appeared to be in line to land one of the more hefty contracts for a position player this offseason. But this winter's stalled market, the loaded lineup hitting free agency next year and the Draft pick compensation attached to him for turning down a qualifying offer from the Royals may have created apprehension that has left the two-time All-Star unsigned as Spring Training begins.

Other than J.D. Martinez, who is also still seeking a job, Moustakas is arguably the top hitter available. He was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year last season after setting career highs in home runs (38, a Royals record), runs scored (75), RBIs (85) and slugging percentage (.521) a year removed from tearing his right ACL just 27 games into the 2016 season. He also boasts a postseason pedigree as a key cog in the Royals' back-to-back AL pennant runs in '14 and '15.

Moustakas has been linked most prominently to four clubs this offseason -- the Braves, Royals, Yankees and Cardinals. Using FanGraph's depth-chart projections, which scale each team's positional breakdown by forecasted Wins Above Replacement, here are the pros and cons of how Moustakas might fit for each of the four clubs he has been most linked to. For context, Moustakas has a 2.8 projected fWAR for 2018.

Braves
Projected 3B WAR: 1.0 (29th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Johan Camargo, Rio Ruiz, Charlie Culberson, Adonis Garcia

Pros: The Braves are on the back end of their multiyear rebuild and could be sneaky contenders in the National League East. But other than superstar first baseman Freddie Freeman, the club's positional nucleus is largely built on young talent, such as shortstop Dansby Swanson, second baseman Ozzie Albies and waiting-in-the-wings outfielder Ronald Acuna, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect. Moustakas would bring a veteran presence and fill a power void (Atlanta finished with 165 homers in 2017, third fewest in MLB) in the club's hitter-friendly new ballpark.

Video: Moustakas earns AL Comeback Player of Year Award

Cons: Atlanta appears a year or two away from being in position to pursue high-profile free agents, and MLB.com's Mark Bowman has reported that the Braves aren't inclined to pursue Moustakas for several reasons. Once the $21.5 million in payroll expenses associated with the Matt Kemp trade in December clears, general manager Alex Anthopoulos will have roughly $50 million to spend next offseason. The Braves also have the game's No. 1 farm system, per MLB Pipeline, and conventional logic would suggest that they will attempt to rise on their cost-effective younger talent -- particularly third baseman Austin Riley, MLB Pipeline's No. 97 overall prospect, who could be Major League ready by 2019. Signing Moustakas would also cost the Braves their third-highest Draft pick.

Royals
Projected 3B WAR: 1.4 (27th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Cheslor Cuthbert, Ramon Torres, Raul Mondesi, Ryan Goins

Pros: Moustakas, the No. 2 overall pick by Kansas City in the 2007 Draft, embodied the largely homegrown Royals roster that rose through the Minors and helped the club win its first championship in 30 years in '15. He will go down as one of the most decorated players in Royals history, regardless of where he signs. But a reunion would further cement his legacy there and would fill the gaping void he left at third. The club had reportedly been more inclined to re-sign Eric Hosmer -- and had reportedly made him a nine-figure offer -- though Hosmer agreed to a deal with the Padres on Saturday, potentially creating more financial flexibility for the Royals to more aggressively turn their sights to Moustakas. There would also be no Draft pick compensation in re-signing him.

Cons: Moustakas is one of three key Royals from 2017 -- with Hosmer and center fielder Lorenzo Cain -- who hit free agency the same year. This offseason thus represented a long-envisioned date signaling a potential rebuild, which appears to be manifesting with Hosmer now in San Diego and Cain in Milwaukee. Projected at 69 wins, second fewest in the AL, with an underwhelming farm system and plenty of personnel needs elsewhere, signing costly free agents isn't within the blueprint of rebuilding clubs.

Video: Must C Classic: Moustakas hits Royals' record 37th HR

Yankees
Projected 3B WAR: 1.7 (24th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes

Pros: Imagine injecting Moustakas into an already lethal lineup that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Couple the versatility that Moustakas would offer with his left-handed bat and Yankee Stadium's short porch to right, and the power potential is boundless. Moustakas' 18 homers of less than 400 feet in 2017, per Statcast™, were tied for third most in MLB. And what makes Moustakas even more fitting is the Yankees' question mark at third base, which is currently projected to be manned by the promising yet inexperienced Andujar, the Yankees' No. 5 prospect who is just 22.

Cons: Moustakas would cost more than a hefty contract for New York. A lofty deal could push the Yankees over the luxury-tax threshold that they've explicitly attempted to remain under, and Moustakas would come with significant Draft pick compensation -- the Yankees would forfeit their second- and fifth-round picks, as well as $1 million in international bonus pool money, given that they exceeded the luxury tax last year. The club has also been strongly speculated to pursue Manny Machado when he becomes a free agent next offseason.

Cardinals
Projected 3B WAR: 2.6 (15th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Jedd Gyorko, Matt Carpenter, Greg Garcia, Breyvic Valera

Pros: The Cardinals entered the offseason planning to bolster their lineup, and they were linked to possible trades to do so at third base -- for Machado, Josh Donaldson and Evan Longoria -- in addition to Moustakas as a potential free-agent acquisition. They're currently in line to go with Gyorko as their primary third baseman, with Carpenter contributing, though each appears better off in a utility role. Moustakas would establish consistency. And as opposed to next year's high-profile free agents Machado and Donaldson, Moustakas would likely command a much more affordable long-term contract. Given the Cards' ambition to supplant the Cubs atop the NL Central, following their aggressive pursuit of Stanton and trading for Marcell Ozuna, Moustakas may make the most sense in St. Louis of any of the clubs listed here.

Cons: Busch Stadium isn't necessarily revered as hitter-friendly, though neither is Kauffman Stadium. However, Moustakas hit just 14 of his 38 homers at home last year. The Cardinals are believed to not want to delve into a long-term deal with Moustakas, and because they neither received revenue sharing nor exceeded the luxury tax in 2017, they would forfeit their second-highest Draft pick and $500,000 in international signing money.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Mike Moustakas

Tale of the fantasy tape: Cubs vs. Cardinals

Which National League Central rival has superior talent?
MLB.com @FredZinkieMLB

After losing to the Cubs in the 2015 National League Division Series, the Cardinals have missed the postseason in each of the past two years, while Chicago has gone on to win two straight NL Central crowns as well as the '16 World Series championship.

Before these teams write the next chapter in their storied rivalry, we can get a head start on assessing them by comparing the fantasy value of their key players for the upcoming campaign. Find out below if St. Louis can be expected to regain the advantage or if the Cubs are headed for another season atop the division.

After losing to the Cubs in the 2015 National League Division Series, the Cardinals have missed the postseason in each of the past two years, while Chicago has gone on to win two straight NL Central crowns as well as the '16 World Series championship.

Before these teams write the next chapter in their storied rivalry, we can get a head start on assessing them by comparing the fantasy value of their key players for the upcoming campaign. Find out below if St. Louis can be expected to regain the advantage or if the Cubs are headed for another season atop the division.

Catcher: Although he is coming off a late-career power uptick in 2017 (18 homers, 82 RBIs), Yadier Molina is unlikely to post a repeat performance after averaging six homers and 52 RBIs across the three previous seasons. The veteran falls well behind Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, who is already among the game's elite offensive backstops entering his third big league campaign.
Winner: Cubs

Video: Sanchez highlights top fantasy catchers

First base: Having produced 100-plus RBIs and 90-plus runs in each of the past three seasons and at least 31 home runs in four straight, Anthony Rizzo is a safe second-round option in 2018 drafts. Matt Carpenter is a solid mixed-league option after averaging 24 homers and 91 runs scored with an .864 OPS across the past three years, but he'll be drafted much later than his Cubs counterpart.
Winner: Cubs

Second base: Coming off a season in which he hit .273 with 23 homers, 75 RBIs, 75 runs and 10 steals across 508 plate appearances, Javier Baez should populate all shallow-league rosters. The same cannot be said for Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, a lifetime .256 hitter who has totaled just nine long balls and 15 stolen bases across the past two campaigns.
Winner: Cubs

Video: Zinkie provides tips for 2018 fantasy drafts

Shortstop: Although he possesses plenty of potential as a former elite prospect who is still just 24, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he was unable to take a step forward following a promising 2016 campaign (21 homers, 95 RBIs). Russell should be drafted later than Paul DeJong, who lacks plate discipline (0.17 BB/K ratio in '17) but hit 25 long balls across 443 plate appearances in his rookie year.
Winner: Cardinals

Third base: Although he fell short of lofty expectations last season, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant remains a viable Round 1 option entering his age-26 campaign. Bryant holds a wide advantage over Jedd Gyorko, who has 30-homer potential but is unlikely to make a significant impact in other categories.
Winner: Cubs

Video: Arenado, Bryant among top fantasy third basemen

Left field: Although he tallied 30 homers over 486 plate appearances last season, Kyle Schwarber remains a risky mixed-league option due to his penchant for striking out (lifetime 30 percent strikeout rate) -- which will likely lead to continued struggles in the batting-average department (career .222 average). The Cardinals score an easy point at this position, as offseason acquisition Marcell Ozuna should be an early-round pick following a memorable showing in '17 (37 homers, 124 RBIs, .312 average).
Winner: Cardinals

Center field: After emerging as a five-category stud last season (23 homers, 25 steals, .306 average), Cards center fielder Tommy Pham now merits an early-round pick in all '18 drafts. The Cubs' center-field situation pales in comparison, as promising youngster Ian Happ will likely see his fantasy value limited by frequent whiffs (31.2 percent strikeout rate in '17) and an expected timeshare with Albert Almora Jr.
Winner: Cardinals

Video: Trout, Betts among top fantasy outfielders

Right field: Although he dealt with injuries and played just 118 games as a result, Dexter Fowler posted career-best marks in home runs (18) and RBIs (64) during his initial year with St. Louis. The veteran is a more stable late-round option in mixed leagues than Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward, who has hit just .243 with 18 homers combined in two seasons with Chicago and will likely make his most valuable contributions on the defensive side of the ball.
Winner: Cardinals

No. 1 starter: Carlos Martinez is knocking on the door to be a fantasy ace, but that door will remain closed until he lowers his WHIP (1.22 across 2016-17). This position will be scored a draw, with Martinez and new Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish (career 3.42 ERA, 11.0 K/9 rate) each warranting attention once the top 10 starters are off the board.
Winner: Push

Video: Analyzing Darvish's fantasy value with Cubs

No. 2 starter: Having made 32-plus starts in five straight seasons and tallied a personal-best 207 K's last year, Cubs southpaw Jose Quintana (career 3.53 ERA) is a better fantasy option than Luke Weaver. The Cards youngster flashed exciting potential (1.49 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 rate) across a six-start stretch from Aug. 23 to Sept. 20 last year, but he lacks experience.
Winner: Cubs

No. 3 starter: After leading the Majors in ERA two years ago (2.13) and producing a 3.03 mark last season, Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks holds an edge over Michael Wacha, who is a serviceable late-round option with a lifetime 3.84 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
Winner: Cubs

Video: Kershaw, Scherzer among top fantasy starters

No. 4 starter: Although he took a major step backward last year (4.33 ERA, 1.32 WHIP), Cubs lefty Jon Lester still warrants a significant fantasy investment due to his track record. The veteran is a preferable option to Miles Mikolas, who excelled during three seasons in Japan (2.18 ERA) but has struggled in previous big league opportunities (5.32 ERA).
Winner: Cubs

No. 5 starter: After thriving away from Coors Field (3.18 ERA) but posting a 5.17 ERA at home as a member of the Rockies from 2012-17, Tyler Chatwood should enjoy pitching for the Cubs. The breakout candidate holds an edge over former ace Adam Wainwright, who owns a 4.81 ERA with a 1.44 WHIP since the outset of '16 and is no longer a viable mixed-league option.
Winner: Cubs

Closer: Both clubs are trying new ninth-inning options and might not have a 30-save reliever. The Cubs' Brandon Morrow (2.06 ERA, 0.92 WHIP in 2017) may have more upside, but he comes with significant injury concerns. Both Morrow and the Cards' Luke Gregerson (4.57 ERA, 1.34 in '17) belong in the second half of mixed-league drafts, making this position a draw.
Winner: Push

Video: Zinkie names Jansen, Kimbrel as top fantasy RPs

Setup Men: Led by Carl Edwards Jr. (2.98 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 12.8 K/9 rate last year), the Cubs have multiple setup men with the potential to help those in deep mixed leagues. But with Tyler Lyons (2.83 ERA, 1.09 WHIP in 2017) able to provide immediate help in deep mixed formats and Alex Reyes (1.57 ERA, 10.2 K/9 rate in '16) nearing a return from Tommy John surgery, the Cardinals could have an impressive setup crew of their own.
Winner: Push

Final verdict: Both clubs earned four wins on the offensive side, but the Cubs have a major advantage in the pitching department. They remain NL Central favorites by picking up an 8-4 victory (with three ties) in this Tale of the Fantasy Tape.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB.

Sources: Tillman agrees to deal with Orioles

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA, Fla. -- He's back.

Free-agent right-hander Chris Tillman is returning to the Orioles on a one-year Major League contract that marks the club's second rotation addition in a week, according to multiple MLB.com sources.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- He's back.

Free-agent right-hander Chris Tillman is returning to the Orioles on a one-year Major League contract that marks the club's second rotation addition in a week, according to multiple MLB.com sources.

The contract, which has not been officially announced by the club, has a base salary of $3 million that offers Tillman the chance to earn up to $10 million in performance bonuses. Tillman, who had been working out in Sarasota of late, took his physical on Monday at Ed Smith Stadium, but he did not throw or participate in camp.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

Tillman's return should help bolster an Orioles rotation that includes recent addition Andrew Cashner, who signed a two-year deal with an option last week. And the club may not be done, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette -- who has historically continued to add throughout the spring -- still looking to acquire outside help for the rotation.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Tillman, a bounceback candidate, drew interest from several other clubs including the Twins, Jays and Tigers. He threw for the Tigers over the weekend though the main issue was 40-man roster space for other clubs including Detroit, which was interested in a Minor League deal with a big league camp invite for Tillman.

The Orioles -- who will have to make a corresponding roster move since their 40-man is full -- are hoping Tillman can rebound from a disappointing 2017 season that will allow him to re-establish his value before re-entering the free-agent market.

With the O's, Tillman will get a chance to return to the organization he's called home since 2008. The 29-year-old was slowed last spring with an injury and never appeared quite right, going 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 24 games (19 starts) that included a demotion to the bullpen. He had a solid year in '16 for the O's, going 16-6 and posting a 3.77 ERA in 30 starts. Baltimore believes he can return to form and help the club rebound from a last-place finish in the American League East. In nine career big league seasons, all with the Orioles, Tillman is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in 203 games (198 starts).

Tillman will join a rotation that includes Cashner, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy with the fifth spot very much up for grabs this spring.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Tillman

Clubs snoozing, not losing, in Spring Training

Several teams push back start times during camp to aid players' rest
MLB.com @castrovince

You snooze, you lose? Not in the modern Major League camp.

Only the sleep-deprived among us would fail to notice a brewing Spring Training trend in which multiple teams are beginning their morning workouts up to an hour later than they previously did. More teams are awakening to the idea that sleep impacts performance, and that rest is a key part of preparing for a long, grinding 162-game season.

You snooze, you lose? Not in the modern Major League camp.

Only the sleep-deprived among us would fail to notice a brewing Spring Training trend in which multiple teams are beginning their morning workouts up to an hour later than they previously did. More teams are awakening to the idea that sleep impacts performance, and that rest is a key part of preparing for a long, grinding 162-game season.

And so, they're hitting the snooze button in Yankees camp -- where this idea was first dreamed up a few years ago. They're doing it in the camps of the Rays, Cardinals, Mets, Phillies, Royals, Giants and Mariners, too.

"I'm all for it, dude," Royals left-hander Danny Duffy said. "I'm not what you [would] call a morning person anyway. I mean, 90 percent of our games are night games during the season, so who wants to get up early?"

That's a simply stated counter-argument to the old-school approach of the cracks of bats beginning shortly after the crack of dawn.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

For as long as anybody can remember, it has been typical for morning workouts to begin with a team stretch somewhere in the neighborhood of 9:30 a.m., with the full workout beginning by 10 a.m. These rituals are preceded by the anticipatory affair known as early work -- infielders taking ground balls in the 7 a.m. hour, batters hitting in the indoor cages, etc.

We in the media have long lionized those who are the first through the door and the last to leave. But, in recent years, teams in all major professional sports have been rethinking rest patterns -- in terms of in-game usage. It only stands to reason that the concept would extend to spring preparation, too.

Video: Boone addresses resting players, workout times

Back in 2016, the Yankees pushed their morning workout back to 11:30 a.m., as a result of a sleep study conducted by Stanford professor Scott Kutscher -- who posited the so-simple-it-ought-not-be-revolutionary idea that the spring schedule should more closely reflect the regular-season schedule.

"These are still young men whose primary job is a nighttime job," Kutscher told the Wall Street Journal that year. "So you want to get in line with how their bodies are going to respond, and how you want to perform."

Now, the alarm is sounding later for multiple clubs.

The Cardinals conducted a sleep-efficiency study on their players last spring and decided to push both the earliest optional and mandatory report times back an hour as a result. Players aren't allowed in the clubhouse before 7 a.m., and they can arrive as late as 10:30 a.m.

"As we went through our sleep trackers last year, we found our guys were getting less than seven good hours of sleep a night," Cards manager Mike Matheny said. "That's just not enough for what we're asking them. ... For us to get that information and not do something with it -- and not do something proactive -- I think is a misuse of the information."

There are other practical reasons to push things back, as articulated by Matt Klentak, general manager of a Phillies team that has pushed its workouts back an hour.

"If your workout's beginning at 9:30, that means your early work is getting done between 7:30 and 9:30," Klentak said. "You know what happens on a humid Florida night? The field gets really wet, and it's not optimal conditions to do early work."

But it's not just about sleep itself. Some teams are taking a closer look at the volume of work that occurs within their workouts.

Video: Callaway shortens Mets' workout times for Spring

The Mets, who are no strangers to the injury bug, recently hired a "high-performance director" to oversee medical and training issues. New manager Mickey Callaway has also pushed workouts back a half-hour and shortened them.

"Before, guys were sitting around for 15 minutes before their next station," Callaway told the New York Post. "They're sitting there talking, and guys were getting hurt. The next thing you know ... you're tight and you've got to go run. I want to get on and off the field. You can't have [players] standing around; that leads to injuries."

The Twins, with new pitching coach Garvin Alston, have adjusted the throwing programs of their pitchers to be more mindful of wear and tear. They are more careful about warmup patterns prior to bullpen sessions and taking better measure of the volume of throws on a given day.

"That's one area, as an industry, where we've been a little bit less attentive," Twins executive vice president and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "We think about the amount of throwing a guy would do in July, coming back from an injury or whatever it is, and we're very attentive to it. But in Spring Training, it's just this huge volume of throwing. Catch, PFP [pitchers fielding practice], ground balls, long toss, bullpen. Day off, do it all over again. If you added that up in the regular season, people would be screaming about the abuse of how much throwing [a player has] had in the game. We just have to be careful about the volume, especially early in camp."

The Spring Training schedule, centered around day games, has long been the antithesis of the regular-season schedule. But while that fundamental flaw does not appear to be close to changing anytime soon, teams are pushing back against tradition for tradition's sake by pushing back workout times and increasing the efficiency of their prep work.

Video: Estrada on how fixing sleep issues saved his season

Maybe bankers can't afford to hit the snooze button for an extra hour. But baseball players? Sure.

"There's no real downside to pushing it back," said Klentak. "It's not cutting into anybody's day, and we feel we're getting pretty productive work out of it."

You snooze, you lose? In MLB, they're hoping quite the opposite.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcasts and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

MLB.com reporters Jeffrey Flanagan and Joe Trezza contributed to this story.

Henry: Red Sox are highly underrated in '18

Club's ownership feels healthy pitching staff is best in AL
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Enthused by his team's improved health and an almost entirely new coaching staff, Red Sox owner John Henry said on Monday that it is a mistake to overlook the two-time defending American League East champions.

"I think we are very strong and people are highly underrating this team," Henry said at around the same time the first full-squad workout was getting underway. "If we have the right approach, I think we'll be very successful. I think we have the right team.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Enthused by his team's improved health and an almost entirely new coaching staff, Red Sox owner John Henry said on Monday that it is a mistake to overlook the two-time defending American League East champions.

"I think we are very strong and people are highly underrating this team," Henry said at around the same time the first full-squad workout was getting underway. "If we have the right approach, I think we'll be very successful. I think we have the right team.

"I know people don't like us apparently saying we won the division the last two years, but we had the best offense in the American League the year before last. We had significant pitching that was injured last year."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

Henry met with the media alongside chairman Tom Werner, who is also bullish on his team's chances this year despite the Yankees adding a major bat in Giancarlo Stanton.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I think it's good for the rivalry," Werner said. "The Yankees will have a very strong team and we have a very strong team, too. I think our pitching, John alluded to it, if we're healthy, I think we've got the best pitching staff, starting pitching ending with [Craig Kimbrel] in the bullpen. I think we have the best pitching staff in the American League."

One reason people could be "underrating" the Red Sox, as Henry said, is that the club hasn't made a major addition to the roster.

Perhaps that could still come if the Red Sox can break their stalemate with free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez that has gone on for weeks.

Video: Dave Dombrowski on unfolding FA market

Both Henry and Werner feel their club is a championship contender regardless of another addition to the roster.

"We are very happy with our roster," Henry said. "I think we do have the highest payroll in baseball, and again, we're defending American League East champions and I think we've done what we needed to do to improve this team."

Henry thinks much of the improvement will come from an offense that will take a different approach under manager Alex Cora and hitting coach Tim Hyers. Last season, the Red Sox finished last in the AL with 168 homers, which is why there has been so much scrutiny regarding the club's pursuit of Martinez.

"I think our approach last year was lacking offensively and we had issues that the players have already talked about," Henry said. "I didn't think we were nearly aggressive enough and I think our approach was lacking for a good part of the season. I think we would have had significant power last year if we would have had a different approach. That's my opinion. It may not be true. I think we have a very good offense."

Video: Dustin Pedroia looking to build a strong foundation

Henry thinks not enough is made of how well the Red Sox did last season despite David Price making just 11 starts due to left elbow issues. By all accounts, Price is fully healthy entering this season.

"I think he's mentally ready and I think he's physically ready," Henry said. "When you look at the injuries we had in the starting pitching last year, we have those guys back strong this year. It should be, as Tom said, quite a pitching staff."

After losing in the AL Division Series the last two seasons, ownership hopes for a deep October run this year.

"And just speaking for John and me personally, we were nostalgic last night," Werner said. "This is our 17th year doing this and we feel we have accomplished a lot, but we'd like to win another World Series."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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