I take no pleasure in writing this. Afterall, Chris Tillman has been a solid big league starter, and at times the de facto ace on the Orioles over much of his career. He’s won some big games, and has always been a stand up guy in the press.
Saying that, it’s time for the Orioles to cut their losses and move on.
Someone on the message board said it’s too early to bury him. Why? He should have been buried after last season. His stuff looks the same, the command looks the same, and he’s done as a major league pitcher unless there is some kind of surgery that can fix that shoulder that he says doesn’t hurt.
He was horrific last year, bad this spring, and was bad yesterday. This isn’t overreacting to one bad start, it’s scouting his stuff. He’ll throw an occasional good curveball, and occasional good change up, but his fastball is down right delicious to batters. His command is awful and the fact that he misses the plate by a good two feet on some pitches speaks to a guy who’s not healthy. The Astros had a 37% line drive rate against him yesterday and he still walked four batters. Basically he was either walking them or they were hitting the ball hard off him.
Since July 26, 2016 these are Tillman’s stats:
Opposing Batters Slash: 316/.397/.550/.947
It’s not too early. If anything it’s too late. There’s a reason no one else would give him a guaranteed contract. If he was on a minor league contract anywhere else he would not have made the team with the spring he had.
Chris Tillman is no longer a major league pitcher. The Orioles need to eat the three million and accept that whoever decided he was better than last year after watching him this spring may need to have their evaluation ability scrutinized. When I saw him this spring I said he was the same guy as last year. I was wrong, he might be worse.
Sure, the Orioles don’t have a lot of options to replace him, but I’d argue that I’d rather watch Nestor Cortes, Mike Wright, or maybe even Scott Feldman start every five days rather than Tillman at this point. Heck, stretch out Miguel Castro and let him start every five days.
The Orioles can’t keep sending out the worst starting pitcher in baseball over the last year and half every five days and expect a different result.