Some big names were tossed around as potential World Baseball Classic replacements for the injured Mark Teixeira, but the fill-in will be Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.
It’s hard to imagine that Hosmer was their first choice, especially following a disappointing season in which he hit just .232 with 14 homers and a .663 OPS in 152 games, but in 2011 he was very impressive as a 21-year-old rookie and before that he was an elite prospect.
Teixeira injured his forearm hitting off a tee before yesterday’s exhibition game and was immediately removed from the roster. In addition to Hosmer the other options at first base for Team USA include Joe Mauer and Ben Zobrist.
Update (5:36 PM ET): Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the Orioles are close to an agreement with Cobb. The contract is believed to be at least three years and in the range of $50 million.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that free agent pitcher Alex Cobb is expected to sign with a team soon. He notes that the Orioles are believed to be the favorite for Cobb’s services. Cobb has kept pushing for a multi-year contract rather than settling for a one-year deal.
Cobb, 30, posted a 3.66 ERA with a 128/44 K/BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings for the Rays last season.
If Baltimore is indeed his next destination, Cobb will provide a much-needed boost to the Orioles’ starting rotation, which currently includes Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman.