Aaron Cook turned in another strong start at Triple-A yesterday, allowing one unearned run in seven innings, and now sports a 1.33 ERA after four starts in Pawtucket.
Cook has a clause in his minor-league contract with the Red Sox that allows him to opt out and become a free agent again if he’s not in the majors by May 1, although he could choose not to use it and give Boston a bit more time to make a decision on his status.
Cook offered no hints about which way he’s leaning, telling Rob Bradford of WEEI.com: “I’ll make a decision when I feel like it’s time to make a decision. I haven’t made a decision yet.”
Obviously a 33-year-old veteran dominating Triple-A competition doesn’t mean he’s ready to do the same in the majors, but Cook looks like his old, pre-injury self with a low-90s fastball and tons of ground balls. In a decade with the Rockies he posted a 4.53 ERA in 1,312 innings, including a 4.39 ERA away from Coors Field, so if the Red Sox don’t think they can use him as a fourth or fifth starter there should be at least a few other teams that see a better fit.
Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.
The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.
Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”