Adam Wainwright continues to struggle in return from Tommy John surgery

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Adam Wainwright’s ERA actually went down this afternoon, but he continues to struggle in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Wainwright allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings in a 6-3 loss to the Reds. While he struck out five and walked just one, he also allowed two homers and averaged just under 90 mph on his fastball (thanks to Brooks Baseball for the data).

Wainwright is now 0-3 over his first three starts and has a 9.88 ERA and 14/4 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 innings. He has already served up five homers after giving up an average of 14 per season from 2007-2010.

While it’s not unusual for pitchers to struggle with their command following Tommy John surgery, giving up free passes and/or leaving pitches up or in the middle of the strike zone, it’s a bit troubling that Wainwright’s velocity has seemingly declined from his solid showing during spring training. The Cardinals are off to a fast start at 9-4, so this is hardly panic time, but three of their losses have come in Wainwright’s outings.

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.