Darren Oliver leaning toward playing next season at age 41

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Darren Oliver is 41 years old and a free agent, but the left-handed reliever is leaning toward coming back for a 19th season.

“After what happened this year, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth,” Oliver told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. “I don’t think I want it to end like that.”

Oliver also has plenty of gas left in the tank, posting ERAs of 2.29, 2.48, 2.71, and 2.88 during the past four seasons. He’s quietly been one of the best middle relievers in baseball following a mediocre career as a starter.

That includes a 44/11 K/BB ratio and .236 opponents’ batting average in 51 innings for the Rangers this season and Oliver made it clear that he’d like to re-sign with Texas.

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.