The Orioles are have agreed to a four-year deal with free-agent righty Alex Cobb, as first reported by to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Cobb’s contract is worth $57 million and it has deferrals plus no-trade protection and incentives.
Cobb was the last major free-agent starter left on the board after Jake Arrieta and Lance Lynn signed with the Phillies and Twins, respectively, last week. Cobb’s market was reported to include the Twins, Brewers, Phillies and Rangers in recent weeks, with the Cubs originally looking like an early favorite before stepping up to sign top starter Yu Darvish.
Cobb, who is entering his age-30 season, has spent his entire six-year career in the AL East, posting a 3.50 ERA and 3.68 FIP in 115 starts with the Rays. If a deal is completed, he’ll be the third rotation addition of the offseason for the Orioles, who already added Andrew Cashner and re-upped Chris Tillman. Cobb and Cashner will join Tillman, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in a veteran O’s rotation mix that was very barren at the beginning of the winter.
Cobb made 29 starts for the Rays last year in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in May 2015. He pitched to an effective 3.66 ERA, pitching himself out of the price range of a Rays club that has looked to cut salary by trading Evan Longoria, Jake Odorizzi, Steven Souza and others since the end of last year.
Despite Lynn settling for a one-year deal, Cobb did well to command a four-year contract in an unusual winter. Industry speculation as of the winter meetings was that the righty was seeking something in the five-year, $100 million range, with the Cubs and Yankees looking like early favorites.