Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notes column in the Boston Globe is always a must-read. And it only gets better as MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
Cafardo reports today that “about six teams have been on the phone” consistently over the past few weeks with Cubs president Theo Epstein concerning the availability of right-handed starter Matt Garza.
Those six clubs: the Braves, Tigers, Cardinals, Red Sox, Jays, and Royals. With plenty of room for more.
Garza, 28, has registered a solid 4.07 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 72/22 K/BB ratio in 77 1/3 innings (13 starts) this season for last-place Chicago. He’s making a $9.5 million salary here in 2012 and will eligible for arbitration for the final time heading into 2013. Epstein and Co. are obviously looking to get prospects in return.
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.