The BBWAA grants FanGraphs accreditation, denies SB Nation

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The Baseball Writers Association of America just had their annual meeting. At that meeting they consider new applications for membership and reconsider old ones. They just did it with Fangraphs and SB Nation: accreditation granted to the former, denied to the latter.

Great news for FanGraphs. They do amazing work, of course, and I guarantee you that every single thinking BBWAA member relies on their analysis heavily as they do their jobs. Well-deserved.

I’m not at all pleased with SB Nation not making it. If for no other reason than this means that Rob Neyer and Amy K. Nelson, who have been BBWAA members for several years by virtue of their ESPN affiliation, are now officially on a one-year at-large membership. If SB Nation is not reconsidered next year, they presumably lose their ticket.

Rob’s tweet about this a few minutes ago suggested that the reasoning given for it not being accredited was that SB Nation is “too new” and that someone said that they’d only been around since July. This makes very little sense because while, yes, SB Nation has amped-up its national coverage in the past year or so with notable new hires like Nelson and Neyer, it has existed as an entity for several years.  And it’s not like Fangraphs has been around since the Carter administration itself.

That aside, if “too new” was the real reason, I think it marks the third different rationale for keeping people out of the BBWAA I’ve heard in the past five years. Earlier it was about how many games people cover. Last year people said it was about whether the writer in question gets, like, health benefits from their employer. It seems like a moving target to me.  But whatever. It’s their organization. They can do what they want with it.

I just think they’ve made a pretty big mistake here. SB Nation is doing fantastic work and has a tremendous reach. As are many other online outlets.  Any organization needs to evolve to survive. I’ve never been particularly impressed at the speed with which the BBWAA has evolved.

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.