A.J. Pierzynski speaks about his reputation as a clubhouse cancer and overall jerkface

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A.J. Pierzynski has a reputation as a clubhouse cancer. That’s not just some broad opinion. One of his teammates on the San Francisco Giants actually called him a cancer back in 2004.  Apart from that, he’s always at the top of “most hated” lists and stuff. But Pierzynski wants to set the record straight:

“Basically one guy came out and said that.”

I brought up Brett Tomko, the Giants pitcher who has long been associated with throwing Pierzynski under the bus.

“Well, he says he didn’t,” Pierzynski said. “But I know Matt Herges, he said some things, some other guys said some things…you know, they have their right, and one of the things I was accused of was getting the other team signs. Anyone that knows me, I would never in a million years give the other team, tell the other team what’s coming.

Well, the sign thing is just a narrow part of it. Pierzynski has a longstanding reputation, even among guys who sorta like him, that he’s kind of a jerk. Oh well. At least he tends to own it. He’s not under any delusions that he’s loved.

I think the most interesting part of the story is that Hawk Harrelson basically lobbied Kenny Williams to sign Pierzynski. So you have him to thank or blame, depending on your point of view.

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.