With the Brewers set to play against the Yankees and Twins this week under American League rules, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Mat Gamel has been called up from Triple-A Nashville.
Gamel, 25, was hitting .321/.380/.577 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI through 76 games with the Sounds, including a .347 batting average to go along with 10 homers over 25 games this month. Of course, while the former top prospect has regularly abused minor league pitching, he has an underwhelming .241/.335/.414 batting line over his first 167 major league plate appearances. Poorly timed injuries haven’t helped, but his star has faded a bit.
The Brewers discussed using Gamel in the outfield as recently as last season, but he has exclusively played first base so far in 2011. He’ll likely serve as the designated hitter for a couple games this week, but will also give Prince Fielder the chance to get a breather. And who knows, if Fielder walks this winter, Gamel could eventually be his replacement.
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.