The bad news keeps piling up for the Braves. B.J. Upton had to exit tonight’s game against the Reds in the first inning after straining his right abductor muscle on a dive attempt. Justin Upton had to leave with a strained left calf after the end of the bottom of the seventh inning. He had come up limping a bit after grounding out to shortstop to lead off the inning. Reed Johnson, who had moved from right field to center after B.J. left, moved back to right field and Tylor Pastornicky took over in center field for Justin.
Justin Upton entered the night with a .255/.353/.463 slash line, but since a hot April that had him in early MVP discussions, he has hit .237/.333/.353 since May 1.
The Braves also learned that x-rays on outfielder Jordan Schafer’s right ankle revealed a stress fracture. David O’Brien says Schafer will likely be out six weeks. He is in his second week out of action, though he suffered the injury on June 26.
If you’re counting, that is four injured outfielders, three in the last two nights. While the Phillies had their game postponed and the Nationals lost to the Marlins 8-3, the Braves lost to the Reds tonight 4-2.
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.