Starting pitcher Alex Cobb passed his physical and is a Baltimore Oriole. MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting the deal is for four years at $56 million with 20 million deferred. This gives the contract a current value of 47 million dollars.
We’ve been saying since the offseason began that the Orioles needed to add at least two legitimate starting pitchers, with one needing to be one of the big three (Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Cobb) if they want to have any dreams of contending for a playoff spot in 2018.
The Orioles added Andrew Cashner just as spring training started, but as the spring wore on and Arrieta and Lynn signed elsewhere, it was starting to look bleak, especially with Chris Tillman, Mike Wright Jr., and Nestor Cortes Jr. not exactly making anyone forget Palmer, McNally and Cuellar.
With Cobb in the rotation, and with Tillman pitching better yesterday, Orioles fans can start to feel better about the upcoming season. Cobb was my first choice all along, mainly because of his success in the American League East. Over his career, he’s gone 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 14 starts against the Red Sox, 6-4 with a 2.99 ERA in 14 starts against the Yankees, and 3-3 with a 3.23 ERA in eight starts versus the Blue Jays.
Although Tillman is most likely going to be the 5th starter, it feels a lot better knowing that the Orioles only have to fill one starting spot instead of two with their remaining candidates. Wright Jr., Cortes Jr. and Miguel Castro will now vie for bullpen roles.
As good as Castro was last year in a relief role, he’s the only one of the three with an option and the Orioles may ask him to go down to Norfolk and stretch out as a starter now. Dan Duquette never like to lose a player and it’s doubtful Wright will pass through waivers, and it’s almost assured that the Yankees would take Rule five pick Cortes back.
If Wright Jr. And Cortes Jr. go to the pen, they would join Brad Brach, Mychal Givens, Darren O’ Day, and Richard Bleier for sure. It appears that rule five pick Pedro Araujo has probably earned a spot in the pen as well, but left-hander Joely Rodriguez has been pretty good as well.
Regardless, adding Cobb to the rotation tells Orioles fans that management is trying to go for it this year. Whether it’s enough or not remains to be seen, but things look better today then they did yesterday.