Many people were surprised–or perhaps more accurately disappointed–that the Mariners chose not to drop Chone Figgins when they needed a roster spot for Miguel Olivo’s return yesterday. And for those same people manager Eric Wedge has some bad news.
Wedge told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that dropping Figgins “is not even an option for us” because as a utility man “he gives us protection” and “we’ll use him how we see fit to help us win ballgames and go from there.”
Using a player to help a team win games is quite a novel approach, but in reality Figgins has barely gotten off the Mariners’ bench with just seven plate appearances in the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, since a big first week Figgins has hit .133 in his last 25 games and is now hitting .186 in 110 games dating back to the beginning of last season. He made $9 million last season, is making $9 million this season, and is owed $8 million in 2013.
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.