The Giants decided to hold off on activating Cody Ross on Tuesday, but they’ll make the move Wednesday and the writing appears to be on the wall for Brandon Belt.
Belt was excluded from the Giants lineup for a second straight day Tuesday, as the team is again using Aubrey Huff at first base. Nate Schierholtz is playing right field, but he’s merely keeping the seat warm for Ross, who has been on the DL Since the start of the season with a calf strain.
Belt drove in three runs in his second major league game back on April 1, but he’s without an RBI the last two weeks and he’s hitting .196/.305/.275 overall. Plus, the Giants have suffered defensively while using Huff in the outfield and Belt at first base.
It’s not a total loss, though. Belt figures to play the outfield pretty regularly in Triple-A, and he’ll be in line for a long look in left field if Pat Burrell goes into one of his patented lengthy slumps.
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.