Scott Kazmir throws for scouts, looks pretty good

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Scott Kazmir threw a B game this morning here in Goodyear. On hand were scouts from multiple teams including the Rangers, Cubs, Brewers and Padres. Terry Francona and multiple Indians officials came out to the back field to watch as well.

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The results: with the GIGANTIC caveat that I’m no scout, I’d say he looked pretty good. His fastball was sitting in the low 90s, mostly at 91-92.  The purpose of the game, however, was for him to work on breaking and offspeed stuff. Like, Kazmir specifically asked for the game for that reason. As far as that goes, he did seem to have a bit of trouble locating his breaking stuff early, but he was getting a lot of swings and misses, striking out four of the first six batters he faced, three of them swinging.

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As Kazmir was winding down I talked to one of the scouts. He thought Kazmir looked good and agreed with me that his velocity was nice, especially compared to where he was a year or two ago. As for the breaking stuff: yes, some issues with location, but the scout liked the deception. Especially his slider, which really had nice movement. And obviously deception is the name of the game.

All told, I think this was a good outing for Kazmir. Whether that means he gets a job on the Indians or becomes trade bait isn’t clear, but given where he was not too long ago, it was a pretty encouraging morning.

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.