Here’s the latest chatter from the AL East …

  • So, that whole Red Sox sign-stealing saga is over with now … right? Not entirely, as Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic write (subscription link). The determinations of commissioner Rob Manfred create quite a few questions — not least of which involving his decision to focus the brunt of his punitive power on one Red Sox employee (replay operator J.T. Watkins). Manfred’s actions haven’t sated MLBTR readers, at least, according to the early results of our poll on the punishments. Perhaps the most interesting issue, from a broader perspective, involves the league’s responsibility for managing all this. As Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom puts it: “I also think structurally we ought to do everything we can to make sure that confusion can’t occur and that these aspects of our game are beyond reproach.” Another way to frame the matter: the rules and enforcement regime needs to be set up to ensure results rather than dealing with fallout on an ad hoc basis.
  • It seemed the Yankees were going to spend the early part of the 2020 season dealing with another odd slate of injuries before the season went on pause. Now that star outfielder Aaron Judge has had plenty of time to figure out what was bothering him (rib stress fracture) and to recuperate … might that be avoided? MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes that Judge is working out at the Yankees’ spring complex and taking his time to avoid any unnecessary complications. Judge says he expects to be ready for “doing a little more here in about a week or two,” at which point he can hopefully begin building towards baseball readiness. There’s still nothing close to a clear starting point for the 2020 season, so there’s obviously no rush.
  • Alex Cobb’s signing is one of several big-contract misfires that have hamstrung the Orioles over the years. But he had seemingly fully recovered from the hip problem that plagued him last year, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza writes. Cobb had a rough 2018 season and made only three starts last year, but there’s still time for the 32-year-old to provide at least some value. The best-case scenario probably would’ve been a bounce back during the first half of the 2020 season, potentially setting the stage for a mid-summer deal. Perhaps now the O’s will end up attempting to move Cobb — who’s owed $14MM in 2020 and $15MM in 2021 — over the ensuing offseason, depending upon what (if anything) he’s able to show this year.

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