Twins deny Orioles permission to interview Mike Radcliff

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None of their top candidates want the job and now the Orioles aren’t being allowed to pursue one of their fallback choices, as Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that the Twins denied them permission to interview Mike Radcliff.

Radcliff has been with the Twins for 25 years as their longtime scouting director and current vice president of player personnel.

On my Twins-centric podcast earlier this week I wondered why Radcliff has rarely been linked to general manager openings in the past despite the Twins’ decade-long run of success for which he’s always given tons of credit.

My assumption upon hearing that the Orioles were interested in Radcliff was that the Twins would let him pursue the job, so their denial is certainly surprising. Or maybe Radcliff just had no interest in the gig and asked the Twins to deny permission.

If the Twins have another poor year Radcliff could be next line to take over as GM in Minnesota, but there’s no indication that Bill Smith is truly on the hot seat yet. As for the Orioles, the list of candidates who’re interested in the job and allowed to interview by their current employer is rapidly shrinking to one name: You guessed it, Frank Stallone.

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.