Red Sox starting pitching target Alex Cobb
A star-studded pitching market headlined by Max Scherzer and Robbie Ray will grab most of the attention but the Red Sox don’t necessarily need to pay for an ace. They have their own Cy Young candidate in Nathan Eovaldi plus Chris Sale should return to form in his first full season following surgery. What they need is depth and an inexpensive back of the rotation arm is a sufficient way to bolster their stable of starters.
Alex Cobb was on his way to developing into an ace early in his career with the Tampa Bay Rays but he was derailed by Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2015 season. He struggled in a brief five-game sample when he returned the following season but bounced back with a solid 2017, going 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA.
Cobb signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 2018 on a deal that turned into an absolute disaster. He was 7-22 with a 5.10 ERA in three seasons in Baltimore.
The O’s traded him to the Los Angeles Angels where he revitalized his career this year, going 8-3 with a 3.76 ERA and a career-high 9.5 K/9. Maybe the problem was pitching for a woeful Orioles staff since he’s performed well everywhere else in his career.
Cobb is primarily a groundball pitcher, ranking 11th in the majors with a 53.3 GB% this season. Until this year, Cobb hadn’t recorded a strikeout rate higher than 6.5 K/9 since before he had Tommy John surgery. If he can maintain this newfound rate of striking out over a batter per inning, Cobb may have more untapped potential to uncover.
MLB Trade Rumors projects Cobb to receive a two-year, $16 million deal. There’s risk in signing a pitcher who made fewer than 20 starts in four of his last six seasons but he would be a strong value if he stays healthy while replicating this year’s results.