Bobby Valentine the “front runner” for the Brewers’ job

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There’s increasing heat to the Bobby Valentine-to-the-Brewers talk. On Saturday Bob Nightengale suggested that it was close to a done deal. Then yesterday Jon Heyman reported that Valentine was at the top of the Brewers’ list.  Heyman went furhter, saying that Joey Cora, Bob Melvin, and Ron Roenicke were second through fourth on the list. Which is kind of odd because I always thought that “the list” was more metaphorical. Maybe the Brewers actually have a numbered ranking system like the Harris poll or something.

We’ve been in “Valentine is the front runner” land multiple times in recent months only to have it not pan out. But given the increasing boldness and certainty to these reports, one has to think that the Brewers have decided on Valentine and are simply waiting for the World Series to end before making things official.

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.