Mike Rizzo is no idiot

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This passage from Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle is a couple of days old, but it’s still a head-scratcher:

Mike Rizzo kept saying Stephen Strasburg wasn’t ready for the majors, even when Strasburg tore through spring training like a hurricane and dazzled in the minor leagues.

Tuesday’s stunning debut should have been Strasburg’s 11th big-league start, not his first, and the Nats should be in the thick of the division race.

Talk about misreading the emotional makeup of the No. 1 draft pick.

Ostler may be the only person on the planet who doesn’t believe that keeping Strasburg down until June 8th was a service time move as opposed to a readiness move.  Which would normally be fine — sometimes ignorance of such things makes it easier to enjoy baseball — but in this case his ignorance is being used to criticize Mike Rizzo unfairly, and that’s not cool.

Rizzo may be fibbing about why Strasburg was on the farm so long, but the silly rules in place all but require that. And all of us, save Scott Ostler, seemed to know it.

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.