Yesterday I wrote that most of the reporters covering the Mets “didn’t even bother” to go up to the press box to watch the game. I owe those guys an apology. I’m informed today — politely, by a writer who covered the Mets for several years, but who was not at the game Sunday — that most of the seasoned guys watch from the stands, near the scouts. This makes perfect sense, really, given that they’re (a) better seats; and (b) you can get a lot more good info from hanging around scouts than you can from sitting up in the box.
Anyway, apologies if my ignorance on this point made a bad and misleading impression. I stand by what I said later in the day: the beat guys have a hard job and do it well. Given that they weren’t up squinting from where I was, they probably do it better than I even imagined.
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.