Report: Astros likely to replace manager Brad Mills after season

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The Astros stuck with manager Brad Mills this season, despite new ownership and a new general manager, but it appears they are already thinking about who will lead them into the American League West in 2013. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Mills will likely be replaced after the season.

Mills, who was hired in October of 2009 under former owner Drayton McLane and former general manager Ed Wade, is in the final year of his contract while the Astros hold a club option for 2013. Entering play this evening, he owns a 164-243 (.403) record as the Houston skipper.

As for Mills’ replacement, Rosenthal was told that new GM Jeff Luhnow will likely consider three candidates from his time with the Cardinals, including Astros bench coach Joe Pettini, former Nationals manager and current Reds Double-A manager Jim Riggleman and Cardinals first base coach Chris Maloney.

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.