After spending the first seven years of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb has reportedly reached an agreement with the Baltimore Orioles, according to Jon Heyman of FanRang Sports.
The deal is for four years and "close" to $60 million, per Heyman. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal had earlier reported it was expected to be "at least" a three-year deal worth around $50 million.
Cobb has had a roller-coaster career to this point. The 30-year-old was one of Tampa Bay's most valuable pitchers when healthy, boasting a 3.50 career ERA and back-to-back seasons with an ERA under 3.00 in 2013 and 2014.
The unfortunate issue for Cobb is staying healthy. He has never made 30 starts in a season, though he came close in 2017 with 29 and set a career high with 179.1 innings pitched.
Cobb lost the entire 2015 season because he had to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in May. His rehab continued into 2016 before being healthy enough to make five starts in September.
Last season, Cobb was back to being an effective starter and played his way into a contract with the Orioles,
For Baltimore, even though there is risk with Cobb, his upside is high. And because his salary is low compared to what the top-tier free agents—Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta—received, they'd get a reliable starter who can stabilize the middle of their rotation as they build for 2018 and beyond.
Signing Cobb is particularly important for the Orioles if they want to contend for the playoffs in what is a loaded American League East. The fact Manny Machado is a free agent in 2019 gives Baltimore some impetus to look for some short-term upgrades.
Although the Orioles already signed Andrew Cashner, that move alone didn't move the needle too much with regard to the team's rotation. Cobb, on the other hand, is a real difference-maker for Baltimore's pitching staff.