The Cardinals were expecting Jaime Garcia to be in the mix for a rotation spot this spring after his injury-plagued 2013, but that’s not going to happen.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Garcia felt shoulder soreness following a recent bullpen session and is scheduled fly to St. Louis tomorrow for an MRI. It’s a troubling development, as he required surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder last May. Regardless of what doctors find, he’s considered unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
While losing Garcia hurts, the Cardinals are well-equipped to deal with his absence. At this point, Lance Lynn is a pretty good bet for a rotation spot behind Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, and Michael Wacha, so that likely leaves Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez competing for the fifth spot this spring.
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.