Marcus Thames retires, becomes Yankees minor league hitting coach

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Marcus Thames’ playing career is over, as it was announced yesterday that he will become the hitting coach for the Yankees’ high-A affiliate in Tampa.

Thames, who is 35, put up a career line of .246/.309/.485 with 115 homers over 10 major league seasons with the Yankees, Rangers, Tigers and Dodgers. His best overall season probably came in 2006 with Detroit, when he hit .256/.333/.549 with 26 homers in only 390 plate appearances. Which was pretty much Thames in a nutshell: solid platoon left fielder, probably best suited for DH.

Now begins his five-year wait for the Hall of Often Pretty Useful. Though I expect at least some writers are going to be out to sink his candidacy.

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.