Ruben Amaro Jr. has made no secret about wanting to re-sign catcher Carlos Ruiz, but the GM also made it clear yesterday that the Phillies won’t wait around for him to make a decision.
Amaro told Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News that if Ruiz takes a long time to decide “I can assure you … there will be very little chance of bringing Chooch back. We can’t afford to miss out on other opportunities.”
Ruiz has already been linked to the Rockies and several contending teams with catching needs will surely be interested as well. Ruiz is 35 years old and posted a .688 OPS for his worst mark since 2008, but he batted .268 with a .741 OPS in 52 games after the All-Star break.
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.