BREAKING: The Mets owners have settled with the bankruptcy trustee for $162 million

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UPDATE: Richard Sandomir reports that the settlement is for $162 million.

This is still a hefty chunk of change, but it is less than the liability they faced. And, more importantly, it brings certainty to what has been an uncertain liability hanging over the team’s head for a couple of years now.

9:27 AM: The trial involving the Mets owners and the bankruptcy trustee in the Bernie Madoff mess was to begin this morning.  Minutes ago, however, it was announced that the parties have reached a settlement.

This was not expected. And at the moment we have no details.  We’ll update as soon as we learn some.

Instant reaction, though: My guess is the Wilpons and Saul Katz don’t settle unless it allows them enough financial comfort to keep control of their most treasured asset, the New York Mets.

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.