Manny and Smoltz to go from rehab to pennant races

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Believe it or not, Manny Ramirez is eligible to come back and play for the Dodgers in just over two weeks. As such, L.A. is thinking about sending him to their Class A team in San Berdoo for a rehab assignment.

In other rehab news, John Smoltz pitched his last rehab assignment yesterday.
It wasn’t the best ever — a run on three hits, a walk and a wild
pitch, two strikeouts in four innings — but overall he’s been strong
pitching to kids: 27.1 innings, 18 hits, 21Ks, 4 walks and a 2.63 ERA.
He’s going to face the Nats next week, as the Red Sox adopt a six-man
rotation until they can unload Brad Penny or Dice-K implodes or
something.

The Red Sox are in first place. So are the Dodgers, who actually
have a bigger lead in the NL West today than they did when Ramirez was
suspended. For each of these teams, the return or debut of these guys
is the equivalent of making a trade for an All-Star caliber player at
the deadline, with the added bonus of not having to give anything up
for him.

It almost isn’t fair.

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.