Home plate umpire Marty Foster had a tight strike zone in last night’s Phillies-Giants game. It peeved Roy Halladay a good bit. Then in the fifth inning he walked Aubrey Huff on five pitches, and ball four was one Halladay did not believe was a ball (and he was right). Then, according to Matt Gelb’s report, this happened:
Roy Halladay snatched the throw from Carlos Ruiz and didn’t flinch. His eyes were focused on Foster, the home-plate umpire, in the fifth inning of Monday’s 5-2 Phillies win over the San Francisco Giants.
Foster noticed the death stare. He said something to Halladay, who barked back. Then Halladay pointed to make his anger totally clear.
That normally kills a pitcher. But when you’re Roy Halladay, you’re the one who does the intimidating. Next batter Brandon Belt: a five-pitch strikeout with strike three looking. And strike three was nowhere near the strike zone, but the ump gave it to Halladay anyway.
After the game Halladay said that he wasn’t yelling at Foster, he was simply having a miscommunication with his catcher.
Sure he was.
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.