The Giants are in talks with free-agent righty Alex Cobb and appear to be making a “strong push” to sign the veteran righty, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Cobb is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
If a deal is indeed finalized, Cobb would fill one of four rotation vacancies for a San Francisco club that saw each of Kevin Gausman, Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani and Johnny Cueto reach free agency at season’s end.
The 34-year-old Cobb had something of a resurgence with the Angels last season after being acquired in an offseason deal that sent minor league infielder Jahmai Jones to Baltimore. Injuries still hampered Cobb — as has oft been the case in his career — with a wrist issue and blisters combining to limit him to 93 1/3 frames. However, when healthy, Cobb was the best he’s been in years, pitching to a 3.76 ERA with a 24.9% strikeout rate, an 8.4% walk rate and a huge 53.3% ground-ball rate.
In fact, in some regards, the 2021 season was Cobb’s best as a big leaguer. While the workload wasn’t as large as he or the Angels would’ve liked, Cobb posted career-best marks in strikeout percentage, swinging-strike rate (11.2%) and opponents’ chase rate (34.6%).
That 2021 output marked a stark turnaround for Cobb, who pitched just 217 total innings during three years with the Orioles after signing a four-year, $57MM contract in advance of the 2018 campaign — the final major acquisition from Baltimore before the eventual housecleaning and rebuild process got underway that summer. Given that Cobb’s last run through free agency lingered until Spring Training was well underway, it makes sense that he’d push for an earlier deal a second time around. Both Cobb and the Angels had publicly expressed interest in a reunion, but that looks decidedly unlikely now.
As alluded to above, Cobb would be just one of many pieces needed to complete a wide-open starting pitching puzzle at Oracle Park. In addition to the quartet of open spots behind homegrown star Logan Webb, Cobb has reached 100 innings in just two of the past seven seasons. While any team signing Cobb would surely hope for better health, it’s not something that can be banked upon given a laundry list of physical ailments that have piled up in recent years.
From a payroll vantage point, the Giants ought to have little issue adding Cobb into the fold. Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez projects a $97MM payroll at present, and Cobb should command a good bit less than the $14.25MM annual salary he received on that last contract with the Orioles. MLBTR ranked Cobb 39th on our Top 50 Free Agent list, pegging for a two-year, $16MM contract.