… OK, that’s not fair. It was just one man’s opinion in the course of this long and fun article from Jerry Crasnick in which we hear all about the interaction between fans and outfielders across the majors. The good, the bad and the ugly.
As for the ugly, Crasnick asked one guy who has a generally good relationship with outfield fans — Jeff Francoeur — where the worst place to patrol the grass happens to be:
“Philly is the worst — no doubt about it,” Francoeur says. “I thought it was bad when I was with the Braves. Then it got even worse when I played for the Mets and we went there. In New York, people just yell at you. In Philly, they wear you out. Even the little kids can be rough in Philly. It’s way out of bounds.”
Hey, if Jeff Francoeur said it, it has to be true. Right?
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.