Matt Garza did some throwing yesterday for the first time since being shut down in mid-July with a stress reaction in his elbow, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Garza announced via Twitter that he “felt great.”
Prior to the injury Garza was rumored to be on the trading block and for a while the Cubs held out hope that he could return in time to make an August waiver deal possible, but he never made any real progress.
That also makes it tough for the Cubs to trade Garza this offseason, whereas a healthy Garza with one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before hitting the open market as a free agent next winter would have been a hot commodity.
In two seasons with the Cubs the 29-year-old right-hander has a 3.52 ERA and 293 strikeouts in 302 innings.
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.