Nov. 6: The Rays will not make a qualifying offer to first baseman Logan Morrison, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Coming off a breakout 38-homer season, it certainly wouldn’t have been a total shock to see Morrison receive the offer as well, and some clubs may well have taken that risk. However, the cost-conscious Rays likely couldn’t stomach the notion of paying a combined $35MM for the pair in the unlikely event that both accepted the deal, so Morrison will enter free agency unencumbered by the burden of draft-pick compensation.
Nov. 5: In line with rumblings from earlier today, the Rays will extend a $17.4MM qualifying offer to right-hander Alex Cobb, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Cobb ranks as the 11th-best free agent available on MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents list.
As Heyman notes, the 30-year-old Cobb has only made $9MM thus far in his career, but will now receive the opportunity to nearly triple that amount if he accepts the QO. Of course, there’s certainly a higher ceiling for him on the free agent market. The MLBTR team believes he could land a 4-year, $48MM contract if he tests free agency this winter.
Tampa Bay originally selected Cobb out of Vero Beach High School in the 4th round of the 2006 draft. He made his major-league debut in 2011, and went on to pitch 520 2/3 innings for the Rays at the major league level before being placed on the DL to begin the 2015 season. What was then described as right forearm tendinitis was eventually revealed to be a partial tear of his UCL. Cobb had the Tommy John procedure in May of that season and didn’t pitch in the majors again until 2016.
In his first full season back from injury, Cobb posted solid overall numbers. He was typically good at inducing ground balls (47.8% ground ball rate) and limiting walks (2.21 BB/9), and typically lacking in the strikeout department (6.42 K/9). Ultimately, the righty posted an impressive 3.66 ERA, though his 4.24 xFIP suggests he wasn’t quite as good as those results. Still, he accumulated 2.4 fWAR and has lined himself up for a nice payday should he choose to venture into free agency.
Cobb features a sinking fastball on which he averages 92.1 MPH, which he throws about 47% of the time. That pitch has been great for him, saving an estimated 13.1 runs in 2017 by measure of Fangraphs’ Pitch Type Linear Weights. His best secondary pitch is his curveball, and he mixes in a two-seamer every now and then. His ability to induce ground balls with those pitches will certainly be in demand this winter.