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MLB rumors: Rays willing to trade Alex Cobb

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If the Rays become sellers later this summer, Alex Cobb could become trade bait.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

As Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports, the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t quite ready to become sellers yet, but if they do, starting pitcher Alex Cobb could be a player that they’d be willing to deal.

Cobb, 29, has had a solid start to the 2017 season, posting a 3.82 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP over his first 10 starts. He still hasn’t quite hit his groove yet after missing all of 2015 and most of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, but once he gets a few more starts under his belt, there’s reason to believe that he’ll more closely resemble the pitcher who posted earned run averages under 3.00 for two straight seasons in 2013 and 2014.

Cobb is earning an extremely affordable salary of $4.2 million in 2017, but he’s a free agent after the season. A few years ago, his rental status might have severely diminished his potential return value. After pending free agent pitchers like Rich Hill and Andrew Cashner brought back impressive packages last summer, however, that’s less likely to be the case. Either way, Tampa is very rarely active in the free agent starter market, so they’d be wise to get anything they can for Cobb if they’re not in contention.

The Rays’ rotation has been a frequent subject of trade talks in recent years, with Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi also coming up in rumors on a regular basis. Tampa has certainly provided fuel for those rumors; since July of 2014, they’ve traded away an entire rotation’s worth of talented starters, dealing David Price to the Tigers, Jeremy Hellickson to the Diamondbacks, Nate Karns and Drew Smyly to the Mariners, and Matt Moore to the Giants.