Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel has a 4.99 career ERA and 1.47 career WHIP in the major leagues. But he’s putting on a clinic right now in Baltimore against an anemic Twins offense.
Hammel has thrown seven no-hit innings and is only up to 77 total pitches as the O’s prepare to bat in the bottom of the seventh. He’s walked two and fanned three, and allowed only two balls out of the infield.
We’ll update his progress from here on out.
UPDATE, 3:27 PM: Twins designated hitter Justin Morneau launched a double off the right field wall on the first pitch of the eighth inning. Josh Willingham followed with a double of his own, scoring Morneau and breaking up Hammel’s shot at a shutout. So much for that.
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.