Aaron Cook preparing for comeback attempt

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the story:

Aaron Cook, RHP, free agent — The former Rockies and Red Sox pitcher, one of the fastest workers in baseball, is looking to make a comeback after he was forced to shut down after experiencing a tired arm in late July. Cook is fine now and looking for another chance. He did not pitch in the majors last season, making eight starts with Triple A Colorado Springs.

Cook posted a hideous 8.15 ERA in those eight Triple-A starts, yielding 56 hits and 38 runs (32 earned) in just 35 1/3 innings. But he’s only 34 years old and he feels rejuvenated after sitting out the second half of the 2013 campaign. Cook should be able to land a non-guaranteed minor league contract and camp invite before the start of spring training next month.

The righty owns a 4.60 ERA (103 ERA+) in 1,406 1/3 career innings at the major league level.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.