Add Jose Valverde to the closer dance party

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Jose Valverde dance.jpgPeople have groused about Joba Chamberlain and Jonathan Papelbon’s post-strikeout and post-save fist pumps and histrionics for years now, but it’s time to add someone else to that list: Jose Valverde.  Check out his display from last night’s Yankees-Tigers game, which the good people at MLB.com have so helpfully put on a single, 43 second reel.

Of course, this is not new behavior from Valverde. He’s been doing this for years. Just not on national television against teams like the Yankees.  When you dance after a strikeout in Houston, you’re just local color. When you do it against the Bombers: big issue. At least if the multiple references to it in the blogosphere this morning are any guide.

I view this as basically the same thing as touchdown celebrations. If it’s actual exuberance — which is what I think that Papelbon, Chamberlain and even Valverde are displaying — who cares? Silly, sure, but not an offense against nature.  If it’s more choreographed and premeditated it’s kinda bush league.

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.