Two weeks after Joakim Soria’s surgery the Royals still haven’t named a closer

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Royals manager Ned Yost declined to name a fill-in closer after news that Joakim Soria would miss the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery and two weeks later he’s still yet to identify the ninth-inning replacement.

It’ll either be former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton or second-year setup man Greg Holland, but according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star the manager “sees no reason to designate a closer.”

Yost stressed that he “has time to think it through” and indicated that he may chose to begin the season without “defined” roles for everyone, which would have been viewed as a perfectly reasonable stance for a manager a couple decades ago before bullpens revolved around the save statistic. These days very few managers actually stick with a closer-by-committee approach for very long, as any failures lead to huge amounts of criticism.

However, with Broxton and Holland–along with Aaron Crow–Yost is certainly in position to make a committee approach work if he’s willing to take some heat from fans and media members (and fantasy baseball players).

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.