Report: Astros already shopping closer Brett Myers

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The Astros moved right-hander Brett Myers from the rotation to the back end of their bullpen for one simple reason: to increase his trade value. And Houston is apparently already looking to cash in.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted late Saturday night that the Jeff Luhnow-led ‘Stros are “shopping” Myers, hoping to catch the interest of teams that have experienced early problems in the ninth inning (like, well, maybe the Giants).

Myers, 31, has allowed no runs and just one hit in two innings of work this season. He registered a 4.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 160/57 K/BB ratio across 216 innings (33 starts, one relief appearance) last year.

There isn’t a great market for innings-eating starters, but in-contention teams are always looking for relief help near the middle of the summer. Myers might not be moved this month, but he’ll be on the go eventually.

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.