5:50PM: If completed, the deal would be a four-year pact, according to MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko (Twitter link).
5:19PM: Rosenthal hears from a source that a deal is indeed close, though the three-year/$50MM terms from Rosenthal’s previous report are “not accurate.”
4:39PM: Right-hander Alex Cobb’s long stay in the free agent market could be nearing an end, as Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link) “there’s a strong belief that” Cobb is closing in on a new contract. The Orioles are considered by most to be the favorites to sign the 30-year-old, according to Passan, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) reports that the deal between the two sides is expected to be at least a three-year pact. Rosenthal adds that the O’s and Cobb had been discussing contracts in the range of three years and $50MM.
Cobb and the O’s have been linked for much of the offseason, as the righty was a natural fit for a Baltimore team that entered the winter with a dire need for pitching. The Orioles have already turned to free agency to sign Andrew Cashner and re-sign Chris Tillman, with those two veterans slotting in behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy in the rotation. Cobb would not only be a decided upgrade over current fifth starter candidates Mike Wright, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Miguel Castro, but the argument could be made that Cobb would be the best starter on Baltimore’s entire staff.
As Passan noted, Cobb has been holding out for a multi-year deal, as opposed to the one-year contracts that several notable players (i.e. Lance Lynn, Mike Moustakas, Carlos Gonzalez, Jonathan Lucroy, Logan Morrison, Neil Walker) have been forced to settle for in recent weeks due to the unprecedented lack of activity in the free agent market. Given this environment, a deal in the $50MM neighborhood would be a particularly nice result for Cobb and his representatives at the Beverly Hills Sports Council. That would actually be higher than the $48MM MLB Trade Rumors predicted Cobb would receive when we ranked him 11th on our list of the winter’s top 50 free agents, though we projected that $48MM to come over a four-year contract.