Things have been rough for Robinson Chirinos since the season ended.
First the 27-year-old Rays catcher broke his hand playing winter ball and now he’s sidelined for at least the next few days after suffering a concussion from a foul tip to the mask on Monday.
Chirinos was acquired from the Cubs last winter in the Matt Garza deal and got into 20 games with the Rays, but spent most of last season putting up mediocre numbers at Triple-A. He’s competing with Jose Lobaton to back up veteran Jose Molina, which could be a pretty sizable role considering Molina’s poor hitting and previous lack of everyday experience.
Hopefully this concussion doesn’t derail Chirinos’ career like it has so many other players during the past few seasons.
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.