Running has been a big part of the Rangers’ offense all year, as they ranked fourth among AL teams in steals during the regular season and swiped seven bases in 10 games through the first two playoff rounds.
Texas tried to get that running game going right away in Game 1 of the World Series last night and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina gunned down leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler on a failed hit-and-run in the first inning. And after that the Rangers never attempted another steal in a 3-2 loss.
Molina has established himself as one of the best-throwing catchers of all time, throwing out 44 percent of steal attempts during his career while leading the league three times in seven full seasons. Asked afterward if he expects the Rangers to continue testing him, Molina replied: “Go ahead, man. I’m going to be ready for it.”
Obviously the Rangers’ lineup is more than capable of scoring runs in bunches without base-stealing being a big factor, but with running against Molina likely taking away as many scoring opportunities as it creates it’ll be interesting to see if manager Ron Washington is willing to put the red light on at times.
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.