I usually stay away from the “so-and-so was put on waivers” and “so-and-so cleared waivers” stories because they’re pretty dog-bites-man. Shocker: really expensive guys on non-contenders are placed on and clear waivers all the time.
But sometimes it’s worth looking at the examples of some to remind us of this. Like today, when within a few minutes we got reports of both Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee clearing waivers. They’re available to anyone who wants them, folks!
Of course Lee is owed $18 million next year and Soriano is owed north of that for the next three seasons — a fact which still boggles my mind — so that may explain why no one wanted them when they could have simply claimed them. And also explains why it is exceedingly unlikely that either will be the subject of trade talks any time soon.
Word is that the Cubs will kick in many millions to offset Soriano’s salary, but really, even if it’s 95%, there are hardly any teams who need a guy like him. He’s essentially a DH now who can hit a few homers but doesn’t get on base enough to make him worth it.
So that’s waivers in a nutshell. If anyone interesting, useful and movable is placed on waivers, we’ll first hear about it when the trade is announced, not when they clear.
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.