A few days ago USA Today made mention of Orioles minor leaguer Mike Flacco considering giving up baseball to go play football like his brother Joe. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun throws some cold water on that:
That’s not the plan, according to the Orioles. Scout Dean Albany talked to Mike Flacco on Tuesday and says the first baseman has every intention of playing for the Orioles’ organization in 2013.
“Mike’s a great kid and he’s working real hard to prepare himself for spring training,” Albany said. “It’s a full go for him for baseball, that’s what he told me. He is real excited about spring training.”
Given that (a) his baseball chops appear not to be of Major League quality; and (b) he hasn’t played football since high school eight years ago, I think a more realistic story about him may be “Mike Flacco considering law school” or “Mike Flacco tapped to be the chairman of the Joe Flacco museum.”
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.