Will Bobby Valentine be Nationals' treasure?

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We know that the Washington Nationals are going to fire Manny Acta, probably sooner rather than later. And we also know that the Nationals are done. Finished. Cooked. Kaput.

The only thing they have left to play for is a second straight shot to draft a young, talented Scott Boras client No. 1 in the draft.

So who will lead this plucky band of players? How about Bobby Valentine?

According to SI’s Jon Heyman the Nats are considering Valentine in their early discussions.

Valentine, who took the Mets to the World Series in 2000, is known for
his high-energy, attention-grabbing style, which seems to have turned
off MLB teams. (Remember this?) But he is loved in Japan, where he has coached the Chiba Lotte Marines for seven seasons. And as Heyman writes, Valentine …

… is known for turning losers into winners. He has always liked a
challenge. This definitely is a challenge. The Nationals are 29 games
under .500 at a time no other team is more than 10 games under .500.

Stay tuned …

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.