According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Texas Rangers have engaged in early discussions with the former Tampa Bay Rays starter Alex Cobb. While the talks have not been too in depth, the Rangers are one of many teams expressing interest in Cobb, as they’ve made “preliminary contact,” as Morosi notes.
Cobb, 30, missed all of 2015 and almost all of 2016 due to a partial tear in his UCL, which resulted in Tommy John surgery. He returned briefly in 2016 and pitched to an 8.59 ERA in 22 innings. However, he bounced back this past season and posted a 12-10 record with a 3.66 ERA in 179.1 innings pitched. His solid 2017 has teams already knocking on the door that are in dire need of pitching help that does not involve lucrative contracts or the gutting of a farm system.
Baseball Essential’s own Josh Schwam wrote yesterday that the Orioles were expressing interest in Cobb, and it makes sense that the Rangers are interested as well. The Rangers ranked in the bottom third in ERA, and besides Cole Hamels, there is not a reliable starter in the Rangers’ rotation. Cobb could slide in as a solid No. 2 starter and provide veteran leadership along with Hamels on relatively inexperienced pitching staff.
If they want to be relevant in an American League West that is home to the reigning World Champions, the Rangers have to improve their starting pitching staff. Cobb would not cost a ton of money and would allow the Rangers to go after more pieces to add to their staff. It has been said that Cobb has a preference to stay on the east coast, but if the Rangers were able to make a solid pitch to Cobb, he may be tempted to forgo that preference.
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