The Baltimore Orioles made a splash with just a little over a week left until Opening Day by signing the No. 1 free agent pitcher on the market. The Orioles signed starting pitcher Alex Cobb to a 4-year deal that will pay him a total of $57 Million. Cobb’s deal was contingent on the completion of a physical, which he passed on Wednesday.
The deal is the largest amount of money Baltimore has ever forked over for a free agent pitcher for both total value and annual salary.
The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 3.66 ERA with a 12-10 record, 128/44 strikeout/walk ratio, and a 2.3 WAR in 179 1/3 innings across 29 starts for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. Cobb went 1-2 with an 8.59 ERA in 2016, after returning late that season from the ligament-replacement procedure. Before 2017, Cobb had not pitched in the Major Leagues since due to a Tommy John Surgery which kept him off the mound for 2-years.
The acquisition of Alex Cobb will provide the Orioles with a much-needed boost in the pitching rotation. He will now join Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman in the Orioles starting lineup. Cobb ranks fifth in career wins and second in ERA on the Tampa Bay Rays’ All-Time list with a 48-35 record and 3.50 ERA over six seasons with the club.
The Orioles are not looking like a contender in 2018, and will most likely finish closer to last than first, especially with the Red Sox and the Yankees fighting it out at the top of the American League East. Cobb will definitely make the O’s fight for third place in the division much easier.
If Cobb proves to be as effective in 2018 as he was in 2017, the Orioles will get a great deal. If not, the O’s are going to be in big trouble down the stretch.