Clayton Kershaw presented with the Branch Rickey Award

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw already has plenty of awards to fill up a trophy case. The lefty just won his second NL Cy Young award, he took home the NL Gold Glove award for pitchers in 2011, and he won Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award last year. He was given another award last night — the Branch Rickey Award, for service above self, presented by the Rotary Club of Denver.

Patrick Sullivan of the Denver Post summarized some of the many things Kershaw and his wife Ellen do to give back:

So what have the Kershaws done in their early 20s? They started Kershaw’s Challenge, a foundation that seeks to transform the lives of at-risk children and communities.

Their cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” has built and sustained an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia called “Arise Home.” They are leaving for Zambia on Wednesday.

The orphanage is now home to nine children who came from desperate situations. This year, their goal is to rebuild a community school in the heart of Lusaka, adding five additional classrooms and paying salaries for higher educated faculty. They are also drilling a new water well to bring fresh water to the town. Each year, the Kershaws travel to Africa to visit with the children and bring awareness to the issues of diseases and infections related to HIV and AIDS.

Congratulations to Kershaw on the honor. It’s always nice to hear about players using their stature to go above and beyond the call of duty to give back.

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.