Tyler Flowers didn’t tell White Sox about “extreme” pain

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As is so often the case when a player performs terribly, it turns out White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was playing through a significant shoulder injury.

Flowers is set to undergo season-ending exploratory surgery, but manager Robin Ventura told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that the catcher hid the severity of the injury for a long time. In fact, according to Hayes he initially suffered the injury last season and “experienced ‘extreme’ pain as far back as last offseason when he began to prepare for spring training.”

Chicago was counting on Flowers replacing A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate and so he tried to play through the pain, hitting .195 with 94 strikeouts in 84 games before finally shutting things down. Being a tough guy is great in theory, but in so many cases it hurts the player and the team.

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.