Biding time alone in his clubhouse office the past two months, the
In executive vice president Dan Duquette's first offseason with the club, he focused on building the pitching staff. This offseason, a wealth of pitching allowed Duquette to dangle some arms as trade bait, although the Orioles have so far decided to keep their pitching and build on its strength.
As the Orioles host their annual FanFest on Saturday at the
"There's going to be some tough calls," Showalter said. "But it's going to be for the right reasons. It's competitive with good people. That hasn't always been the case. It used to be last man standing."
Heading into spring training last season, the team had just traded No. 1 starter
The bullpen was rebuilt with the addition of new arms like
Now, the pitching staff returns almost entirely intact. The Orioles remain interested in re-signing late-season acquisition
Last season, right-hander
"We've come a long way," said Tillman, who was a late-spring camp cut, but went 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 big league starts after joining the Orioles in July. "I think we're a more confident group. I think we're a little more mature group. We know what we can do now, and I think it's up to us to definitely hold ourselves to the level we need to holds ourselves to. I think we all feed off each other. I think that's the fun part. We're all pushing each other to be just as good or better. We've got a good little thing going on right now."
This is the way Duquette planned it when he came on board last season, to build rich pitching depth that could serve the team for years to come.
"I like the pitching staff," Duquette said. "I like the stability we have in our pitching staff, starting with our bullpen, which was a strength of the team, and they're all coming back. They're a year older with more experience. We have some young pitchers who want to establish themselves as good, winning pitchers in the major leagues. We had a couple who came up last year in Tillman, Gonzalez and Stevie Johnson. Those guys pitched like top-of-the-rotation starters. They won over 20 games for us, and they were rookies last year.
"My experience with young players is, you can be surprised by how quickly they come to the big leagues and the contribution they make to the team, so I wouldn't lose sight of some of the good young players we have within our organization who could come up and have an impact on the team."
Duquette has also made it no secret that top pitching prospects
"[Bundy] got up there so fast," Gausman said this week. "It's like you blink your eyes and the next thing you know, he was drafted the year before and now he's in the bigs. It's nice definitely knowing they want to get us up there and get us acclimated to being in the bigs. I think that's a part of Dylan being there was. They wanted him to get used to it. Seeing that is really exciting for me, because I'm in the same situation he was a year ago."
In the bullpen, Jim Johnson saved a team-record 51 games.
Then there's the other stable of pitchers that Duquette inherited, arms like
"We've all had three or four months of success in the big leagues, but none of us have really put it together for a full season," said Britton, whose season was slowed by shoulder discomfort. "We're all kind of in the same boat in that aspect. Some guys got a slighter advantage than others going into the spring, but at the end of the day it's going to be the best five. You understand that with Buck, and that's great. He's very open-minded and kind of a 'what have you done for me lately' type of guy. It doesn't matter what you did two years ago. He wants the guys who are going to help us win now."
When: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (season plan holders can enter at 10 a.m.)
Where: Baltimore Convention Center
Tickets: $10 for adults and $5 for children 14 and under and those over 55. On the day of the event, FanFest tickets will be sold at the Convention Center and the
Parking: Complimentary parking available in Lot B/C as long as space permits.
Traffic info: Because of the Dr.
2013 game tickets: In addition to FanFest activities, individual game tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Fans may purchase tickets at the Convention Center or the Camden Yards box office at the north end of the Warehouse throughout the day. Tickets will also be available via phone at 1-888-848-2473, at orioles.com and at the Official Team Store at the York Galleria in York, Pa.
For more information on FanFest, visit orioles.com/fanfest