Padres drop Clayton Richard

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San Diego would have non-tendered Clayton Richard ahead of his final trip to arbitration this offseason anyway, but the Padres cut ties before then by outrighting the veteran left-hander from the 40-man roster yesterday.

Richard had the option to accept an assignment to Triple-A sans roster spot or become a free agent and he chose the latter, so he’ll hit the open market looking for a new contract and a bounceback year in 2014.

Acquired from the White Sox in the Jake Peavy trade, Richard posted a sub-4.00 ERA for the Padres in 2010, 2011, and 2012, but he got knocked around for 44 runs in 53 innings this season before being shut down with a shoulder injury that required surgery. He made $5.2 million and the Padres obviously had no interest in paying him anything similar in 2014, so now he’ll likely be searching for a one-year deal at age 30.

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.