Among the conversations currently underway with the Baltimore Orioles are preliminary discussions with representatives of pitcher Chris Tillman regarding a contract extension, according to a report from The Baltimore Sun.
Introductory talks between the two sides began Tuesday at the site of the meetings, according to the report, but it marked the inaugural occasion the Orioles have considered retaining the services of the right-hander in the long-term.
Tillman, scheduled to hit free agency at the end of next season, is one of three Orioles' players set to make more than $10 million through the arbitration process. Until Tuesday, talks about extensions for players such as third baseman Manny Machado, outfielder Adam Jones and closer Zach Britton had been kept under wraps. All three are scheduled to become free agents at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said he met with agents who represent players that are currently under team control, but gave no further details.
Tillman has been the rock of the team's starting rotation since the 2013 season, he's posted a record of 56-30 over that timespan while at the same time recording at least 30 starts in each season. Last season, the 28-year-old California-native posted a 16-6 record with a 3.73 ERA. He began the season winning 14 of his first 16 decisions.
The free agent market for starting pitching has been as sparse this year as in years past, but 2017 should feature a healthy stable of available talent. Along with Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Danny Duffy and Michael Pineda are all scheduled to hit free agency.