Reds call up top prospect Yonder Alonso from minors

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Right on the heels of the Jonny Gomes trade, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have called up top prospect Yonder Alonso from Triple-A Louisville.

Alonso, 24, has a .293/.370/.466 batting line over parts of four seasons in the minor leagues, including a .296/.364/.478 batting line and an .842 OPS over 854 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. While his power hasn’t progressed as quickly as hoped, he has plate discipline (203/148 K/BB ratio) beyond his years.

Originally drafted as a first baseman out of the University of Miami in 2008, Alonso almost certainly would have been in the major leagues already if it wasn’t for the presence of 2010 National League MVP Joey Votto on the big league roster. The only thing holding him back has been finding another position. Alonso has played 62 games in left field with the Bats this season, so he figures to share playing time with Chris Heisey and Fred Lewis in the interim.

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.