Another way to read this is “the Yankees really do plan on re-signing Robinson Cano, but (a) they don’t want to be left with their pants around their ankles in the event he bolts; and (b) even if he does want to come back, it’s be nice to at least pretend we could go a different direction for bargaining purposes.” George King of the Post:
According to industry sources, general manager Brian Cashman has checked on second baseman Omar Infante during the period when teams and players could talk about everything but money.
That ends Tuesday, when teams can negotiate dollars and free agents can sign.
It’s been several months since we’ve been in hot-stove mode, so in case you forgot: everyone checks in with everyone on everyone. Sometimes it’s significant, sometimes it isn’t, but reporters who hear about it will always talk about it.
This one: I wouldn’t consider it significant unless and until Cano is linked strongly with another team.
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.