I promise: this will be my last Manny Ramirez post of the day. But it’s a necessary one.
Yesterday I took Ken Rosenthal to task for saying that Manny Ramirez “quit on the Dodgers.” My reason: neither Rosenthal’s nor anyone else’s reports had any evidence that he did quit on them. I thought it was your typical shoveling of dirt on Manny because he’s made himself a pretty handy dirt receptacle over the years.
But maybe Manny did quit! Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com reports today that, according to two Dodgers sources, Manny “declined his spot in the starting lineup” on Sunday. Joe Torre won’t confirm it. Guess we have to wait for his next book.
I don’t recant my criticism of Rosenthal’s piece yesterday because, hey, if Kenny knew that Ramirez quit on the Dodgers he maybe could have, you know, reported it rather than just asserted it (and because the Albert Belle comparison is still way off in my mind). But assuming Miller is right here, Manny did quit on the team, and that such a thing needs to be acknowledged.
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.