Alex Cobb has been one of the Tampa Bay Rays' best starting pitchers when healthy, so if the team wanted to explore a trade market for him, it would certainly be robust.
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Rays Not Shopping Cobb
Sunday, Feb. 7
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Cobb has generated "quite a bit of interest" from teams, but the Rays "are likely" to keep their young pitching staff intact heading into the season.
Health is a key point for Cobb this season. He missed the entire 2015 season after starting the year on the disabled list with elbow problems that led to Tommy John surgery in May.
The 28-year-old will make his return at some point early in 2016, joining a talented Tampa Bay rotation that includes Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Nate Karns, Drew Smyly and Matt Moore.
Cobb looked like the Rays' ace-in-the-making during 2013-14, posting a 2.82 ERA and 283 strikeouts in 309.2 innings.
The problem he faces in 2016 is that he's never been able to make it through an entire season unscathed. He has yet to make 30 starts in a season, and his career high in innings pitched is 166.1 (2014), so there's plenty of room for improvement even as he's capable of dominating over 20-25 starts.
While the Rays are always facing financial restrictions, there is no urgency to trade Cobb right now. He's under team control for two more years and is making only $4 million in 2016, so he can be one of the best bargains in baseball if he posts his 2013-14 numbers over 20 starts this year.
If the Rays get off to a slow start in the American League East this season, Cobb's availability may change around the trade deadline.
For now, though, he has every reason to expect that he will be starting 2016 in a Tampa Bay uniform.