It’s being reported that the Tampa Bay Rays have gauged interest in starting pitcher Alex Cobb.
Alex Cobb has been a part of the Tampa Bay Rays since the team first drafted him way back in 2006. Now, Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports reports that the starting pitcher could be on the move to another team. A source at the Rays has said that the team has gauged interest in Cobb, although another source denied this to Heyman.
As things currently stand, the Rays are a .500 team in a highly competitive division. They are 4.5 games back of the first-place New York Yankees and in the mix for the second Wild Card spot. Given the early nature of the season, it is unlikely that the team would consider selling anytime soon.
Still, it would make sense for the Tampa Bay Rays to trade Cobb if they decide to sell, meaning that the initial source might just be correct about the team floating the pitcher’s name out in trade talks. The right-handed pitcher will be a free agent after the year, making him a perfect candidate to leave should the front office decide that they do not like their playoff odds this year.
Not only would a Cobb trade make sense, but he could potentially fetch a solid return. Thus far, he has pitched well through nine starts. His 3.67 earned run average and 1.24 WHIP are both better than average. With a fastball in the low 90’s, Cobb has never been a true power pitcher. Still, he has struck out a healthy six batters per nine innings, but this is well below the major-league average.
One potential issue with Cobb is that he has been highly prone to injuries throughout his career. The 29-year-old has yet to make more than 27 starts in a season and has never tossed more than 170 innings. Some teams may not want to pay a premium for a rental pitcher with durability issues, which could make facilitating a trade difficult.
Cobb’s injury woes reached their worst when he suffered a partial tear of the UCL in early 2015. At first, the team described the injury as right forearm tendinitis, but the later diagnosis came out in early May. He underwent Tommy John surgery a few days later and missed the rest of the season.
Recovery lasted well into the 2016 season, and he failed to thrive upon returning. Through five starts, the then 28-year-old allowed 22 runs in just 22 innings. Allowing five dingers in that time, a lot of the damage stemmed from an inability to prevent home runs.
When healthy, Cobb has the potential to be one of the better starting pitchers in the game. Now, the question is whether teams are willing to roll the dice on him given his repeated health issues. It seems as if the Tampa Bay Rays are interested in finding an answer should their season turn for the worse.