Must-click link: What the writers were saying about PEDs in 1998

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As we await the Hall of Fame voting results — due in just under a half-hour now — you would be wise to click over to TYU, where Moshe Mandel has hopped into the wayback machine to find what baseball writers — the notable ones, many of whom are now leading the anti-steroids crusade — were saying about it all back when Mark McGwire was hitting bombs and chicks all dug the longball.

The short version: everyone brushed it off at the time. We know that generally speaking — after all, no one got on the anti-PED train until 2002, really — but it’s quite illuminating to see what the writers actually had to say on the topic. Then? Eh, who cares? Now? If someone doesn’t give the secret anti-steroids handshake they’re considered a fellow traveler.  And people think I’m crazy when I say that the 1990s represented the peak of enlightenment of Western Civilization.

Hall of Fame results in just a few minutes, my friends. If you need me, I’ll be up in a bell tower, awaiting the coming fury.

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.