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Report: Orioles interested in Collin McHugh

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The Orioles have reportedly reached out to the Astros about right-hander Collin McHugh, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. While a trade doesn’t appear to be imminent, McHugh could help bolster the Orioles’ woefully thin rotation, an opportunity he’s unlikely to get in Houston as the Astros already have Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton pegged for starting roles.

The 30-year-old right-hander is looking to rebound after missing the first half of the 2017 season with an elbow injury. He performed well after working his way back from the disabled list, and finished the season with a 5-2 record in 12 starts and a 3.55 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 in 63 1/3 innings. While McHugh appears more than capable of shouldering a full workload again in 2018, the Astros’ offseason acquisitions have effectively removed him from the rotation, and it seems far more likely that he’ll end up in a long relief role this year — provided they don’t trade him first, that is.

In the meantime, McHugh is still waiting on an arbitration ruling this offseason after filing for $5 million back in January, which was met with a counteroffer of $4.55 million from the Astros. He’s set to remain under team control through 2020.

An earlier report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggests that the Twins may also be in on McHugh, though they don’t appear to have made a serious offer yet. Rosenthal points out that teams might be reluctant to pursue trade candidates like McHugh and Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi until more free agents (Jake Arrieta and Andrew Cashner among them) have been taken off the board.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.