AL All-Star balloting update: Jose Bautista joins the leaders

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The latest American League ballot totals are in and the red-hot Jose Bautista has moved into third place in the outfielder voting, with Nelson Cruz dropping out of the lineup to fifth place.

Bautista had the AL’s highest vote total last year, but his slow start guarantees he won’t duplicate that feat this year. Instead, it looks like Josh Hamilton will take the title.

CATCHER
Mike Napoli, Rangers: 2,239,047
Joe Mauer, Twins: 1,283,804
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 1,242,247

FIRST BASE
Prince Fielder, Tigers: 1,946,045
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 1,680,793
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 1,405,187

SECOND BASE
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 2,580,306
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 2,565,046
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 1,331,657

THIRD BASE
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 2,251,304
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 1,869,727
Evan Longoria, Rays: 1,442,308

SHORTSTOP
Derek Jeter, Yankees: 3,359,875
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 2,008,678
J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 968,963

OUTFIELD
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 5,414,880
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 2,818,535
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 1,996,940
Adam Jones, Orioles: 1,959,207
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 1,944,487
David Murphy, Rangers: 1,229,190
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 1,177,500
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 823,568
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 818,164

DESIGNATED HITTER
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 2,390,132
Michael Young, Rangers: 1,892,150
Raul Ibanez, Yankees: 1,080,421

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.