FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported in March that free agent Derrek Lee was open to continuing his career if presented with the right opportunity.
Well, that opportunity might finally be here.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Brewers are “definitely” interested in signing Lee to take over as their primary first baseman.
Mat Gamel, who was pegged as Prince Fielder’s replacement this winter, was diagnosed with a torn right ACL last week and is expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery. The 26-year-old was batting just .246/.293/.348.
The Brewers also lost shortstop Alex Gonzalez recently to a knee injury. He was a real source of power in the Milwaukee lineup (with four home runs in 24 games) but might be ruled out for the rest of the year.
Lee, 36, hit .267/.325/.446 with 19 home runs and 59 RBI last season between the Orioles and Pirates.
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.