Wandy Rodriguez started off strong for the Pirates, posting a 3.47 ERA through his first 11 starts of the 2013 season. He retired just one batter in his next start on June 5 against the Braves, however, and soon after went on the disabled list with a strained left forearm. He would spend the rest of the season on the DL.
There was some uncertainty about his readiness with spring training drawing near, but the 35-year-old left-hander says he’ll be ready for day one of spring training according to Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review. Rodriguez has been working out at his home in the Dominican Republic.
Biertempfel notes that, because the Pirates have two early off days on April 1 and 7, they could push Rodriguez’s season debut back to April 14’s series opener in Cincinnati.
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.