Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Pirates have acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the Mets. Earlier in the day it was reported that the two had been placed on waivers and claimed by an unknown team. Now we know. In return the Mets are getting minor leaguer Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.
Byrd has been something of a revelation for the Mets this year, hitting .285/.330/.518 with 21 homers. Buck started the year incredibly strong but has since been relegated to backup catching duties as the Mets are giving Travis d’Arnaud a shot to be their everyday catcher. Neither Buck nor Byrd are under contract beyond this year. Any hopes that the Mets would hold on to them for a potentially-contending 2014 season were probably dashed with Matt Harvey’s season coming to an end and his 2014 likely being a washout.
For the Pirates, Byrd will represent an offensive infusion for the stretch run as he will likely take the everyday role from Jose Tabata in left. At least assuming he keeps up what he’s been doing. Buck will provide depth as a backup to Russell Martin. Neither guy is a game-changer, but as the season comes down to the end, every little bit helps.
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.