Hey Phillies! Call the Dbacks!

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Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro has a problem:

I talked to Amaro on the phone yesterday, and while he said that
upgrading the starting rotation remains his “main focus,” he said he
doesn’t yet have any willing trade partners. The problem, evidently, is
two-fold: a) Some of the pitchers who ordinarily would be on the market
(Jake Peavy, Erik Bedard, etc.) are injured; b) Some of the teams that
were expected to be trade-deadline sellers (Rockies, Reds, etc.)
haven’t completely dropped out of contention.

“No one’s out there dealing anybody or wanting to part with anybody
because the pitchers who are available are, one, hurt, and two,
pitching for teams that don’t think they’re out of the race yet,” Amaro
told Philled In. “I know because I’ve asked about every one of them.”

Ruben! Put Circling the Bases in your RSS feed and your problems will be solved!

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.