Ryan Franklin has probably lost his job as Cardinals’ closer

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The Cardinals have a day off today so Tony La Russa has some extra time to think about it, but it seems pretty clear that Ryan Franklin’s time as the Cardinals’ closer is over.

Or hell, maybe it ended yesterday and we just didn’t notice it. I mean, in a 1-0 game in the ninth inning, La Russa went to Trever Miller first, who gave up that double to Andre Ethier. Only then did he summon Franklin. I don’t pretend to understand what La Russa does with his bullpen, so it’s hard to say if that, in and of itself, meant anything, but it’s pretty academic now. The closer is the big subject in St. Louis, even if La Russa would rather not talk about it:

Manager Tony La Russa attempted to deflect questions about the topic afterward. “What about the offense?” he said. “We only got two runners to second base against their starter. It’s not all about the closer.”

That might have worked better if he hadn’t berated the media the last time they tried to ask him about the offense.

In any event, Bernie Miklasz has all of the brutal detail about why Franklin has to go. And I can’t say I disagree with any of it. You don’t overreact to a blown save. Or even two.  But when you have a 6-4 road trip and three of those losses came when you held the lead at some point in the ninth inning, well, that’s all she wrote.

Bernie thinks the job should go to Mitchell Boggs.  Others are lobbying for Eduardo Sanchez, though it seems hard to picture La Russa going with a guy who has two major league appearances under his belt. Whoever the best candidate is, something has to be done.

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.