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Blue Jays have shown interest in Chris Tillman

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The 29-year-old starter had the worst season of his career in 2017.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
Chris Tillman of the Baltimore Orioles pitches in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 24, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays have shown interest in free agent Chris Tillman this offseason, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported early Wednesday afternoon. The starting pitcher has spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles and had the worst season of his career in 2017.

Tillman, who turns 30 years old just more than two weeks into the 2018 season, was worth a career-low -2.2 wins above replacement in 2017. His 6.93 FIP was his highest since 2009, in which he posted a FIP of 6.10.

In Tillman’s previous five seasons from 2012 to 2016, he posted an ERA of 3.81 over 844.2 innings. He struck out 655 batters while walking 288, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.27. He was named an American League All-Star in 2013, the only time in his career he’s earned such recognition. He started 34 games in 2014, a league high.

Tillman, perhaps an option to move to the bullpen in 2018, would bolster a shallow Blue Jays rotation. With Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez penciled in to the 2018 starting rotation, a fifth starter, along with depth, is needed.

It isn’t certain that Tillman would be Toronto’s fifth starter, but with a strong rebound in spring training, it isn’t far-fetched. If signed, he’d likely be competing with Joe Biagini and perhaps Chris Rowley, along with any other offseason additions, for the fifth rotation spot.

Morosi’s report says nothing of Toronto’s current interest in Tillman, simply stating that the Blue Jays “have shown interest in Chris Tillman this offseason.” With remaining needs in the rotation and an apparent drive to continue adding this offseason, it seems likely that the Blue Jays still have interest in Tillman.


Find Mark on Twitter @MarkColley. He can be contacted at markarcolley@gmail.com.