Former Red Sox ace Mel Parnell dies of cancer at 89

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Mel Parnell, who spent his entire big-league career with the Red Sox and led the American League in wins with 25 in 1949, passed away Tuesday at age 89 following a long battle with cancer.

Parnell’s 123 wins were the most by a Red Sox left-hander. Besides his 25-win season in 1949, he finished with 21 wins in 1953 and 18 in both 1950 and ’51. Known for his screwball, he hurt his arm in 1954 at age 32 and never pitched another full season, though he did pitch a no-hitter against the White Sox in 1956, his last year in the big leagues.

He talked about the no-hitter with the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2002:

This is something a pitcher dreams of. You never expect it to happen.

On that particular day, I had a very good screwball. My slider was working good. That gave me pitches that I could work in and out on hitters. I pretty much was able to get the ball right where I wanted it with each pitch, and things fell in line for me.

Parnell, who briefly worked as a Red Sox broadcaster in the 1960s, was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

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.