A’s manager Bob Melvin wants Hideki Matsui back in 2012

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Hideki Matsui has recovered from a miserable first half to hit .400 with five homers and seven doubles in 27 games since the All-Star break, playing so well that manager Bob Melvin told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d like the A’s to re-sign the 37-year-old.

That is, if Melvin is back in 2012.

Matsui has reportedly cleared waivers, making him eligible to be traded, and the A’s would presumably be thrilled to cash him in for any kind of decent prospect between now and August 31.

Matsui has about $1 million left on a one-year, $4.25 million deal and even the excellent second-half has him hitting just .260 with 11 homers and a .750 OPS in 103 games overall.

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.