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MLB Rumors: Rays to extend qualifying offer to Alex Cobb

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays plan on extending a qualifying offer of $17.4 million to starter Alex Cobb, a source told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Cobb earned only $4.2 million in 2017. The 30-year-old righty is coming off a season in which he posted a 12-10 record with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 179 13 innings pitched — a career-high for him — across 29 starts. It was his first full campaign since 2014 after not having pitched a lot over the last two years. After having a 2013 season in which he went 11-3 with a 2.76 in 22 starts and a 2014 campaign in which he went 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA in 27 starts, Cobb never got to pitch in 2015 after he tore his UCL and had Tommy John surgery. Last season, he returned late in the year and went 1-2 with a 8.59 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP in 22 innings.

Cobb had clubs such as the Cubs and the Dodgers interested in him during the season and many thought the Rays would trade him at the deadline, but no deals ever came to fruition.

The qualifying offer Cobb will receive is based on the average salary of MLB's 125 highest-paid players. If a player who is extended a qualifying offer turns it down and signs elsewhere, the team that loses him receives a 2018 Draft pick as compensation.

In the Rays’ case, they could receive one of two draft picks based on the rules of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement because they are a revenue-sharing recipient, according to Jon Morosi and David Adler of MLB.com. If Cobb signs with another club for $50 million or more, the Rays would get “a 2018 draft pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A.“ If he signs for less than $50 million, the Rays “would receive a pick following Competitive Balance Round B, which comes after the second round.”

Cobb has 10 days to accept the offer when he receives it. If he does, he will stay with the Rays for this season and be a free agent next year. If not, he will be on the market along with names such as Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Jaime Garcia.