Twins’ talks with Francisco Liriano going “backwards”

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The Twins made some sort of offer earlier this winter to free agent left-hander Francisco Liriano.

But it apparently wasn’t a very attractive one.

LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Saturday that negotiations between the Twins’ front office and Liriano’s representatives “have gone backwards.” And it doesn’t sound like there’s a strong desire from either side at the moment to get those discussions headed in a positive direction.

Liriano registered an ugly 5.34 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 167/87 K/BB ratio in 156 2/3 innings this past season between the Twins and White Sox.

And he had a 5.09 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 134 1/3 innings for Minnesota in 2011.

Even in a highly lucrative market for starting pitchers, the 29-year-old southpaw is going to have to settle for a one-year deal with a low base salary. Again, it’s not clear what the Twins might have offered.

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.