Cubs prospect Kris Bryant getting MRI on left big toe

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Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant made an early exit from a game Saturday at Triple-A Iowa, leading to speculation on blogs and Twitter that he might be on the way to the majors. But that’s not happening.

CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney reports that Bryant’s departure was because of an injury to his left big toe — something that has been lingering since the 22-year-old budding superstar fouled a ball off his foot early last week. X-rays taken Saturday at a local hospital in Des Moines came up negative, so Bryant is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday.

“He’s been dealing with it himself for the last couple of nights and sucking it up because he’s a freaking gamer,” Iowa manager Marty Pevey told reporters.

Bryant is batting .333/.440/.678 with 40 home runs and 103 RBI in 124 games this season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He is not expected to reach the major league level until sometime in 2015.

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.