After leaving last night’s start in the first inning with what was described as right elbow soreness, Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison was placed on the disabled list this morning with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.
According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Hutchison will be shut down for the next two weeks before being re-evaluated. Blue Jays manager John Farrell told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that all signs point toward him avoiding Tommy John surgery, but he will likely seek a second opinion to rule out a possible tear of the ligament.
Hutchison, 21, made his major league debut on April 21 and posted a 4.60 ERA and 49/20 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings prior to the injury.
The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Robert Coello from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Hutchison on the active roster, but he is expected to pitch out of the bullpen. Carlos Villanueva pitched four scoreless innings in relief last night against the Phillies and could be a candidate to take Hutchison’s spot in the rotation. The 28-year-old right-hander made 13 starts with the Jays last year, but also missed some time with a forearm strain.
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.