The Giants have continued to build their rotation by signing right-hander Alex Cobb. The Beverly Hills Sports Council client signed a two-year contract worth $20MM in guaranteed money, and Cobb is set to earn $9MM in each of the 2022 and 2023 seasons. San Francisco also holds a $10MM club option on Cobb for 2024, with a $2MM buyout.
Cobb spent the 2021 campaign in Orange County, after the Angels acquired him from the Orioles last winter. It was an eyebrow-raising move at the time, since Cobb had struggled with both injuries and underperformance over his three seasons in Baltimore. The ten-year big league veteran rewarded the organization’s faith, though, tossing 93 1/3 innings of 3.76 ERA/3.83 SIERA ball across 18 starts.
Along the way, Cobb generated more whiffs than he ever had before. His 11.2% swinging strike rate and 24.9% strikeout percentage were both career-best marks, each checking in a touch above the respective league averages for starting pitchers. Cobb paired that uptick in whiffs with his typically robust ground-ball tendencies (53.3%) and solid control (8.4% walk rate) en route to a nice season.
Cobb’s run prevention numbers were partially propped up by one of the league’s lowest home run rates (0.48 per nine innings). It’s unlikely he’ll continue to be quite that successful keeping the ball in the yard moving forward. But Cobb’s blend of average or better whiffs, control and grounders should allow him to be a solid back-of-the-rotation option even if his homer rate regresses. The bigger concern might lie in his health, as he had separate injured list stints this past season due to blisters and right wrist inflammation. Cobb didn’t seem any worse for wear after returning from his time on the IL, though, with the velocity on all of his offerings remaining intact during his final few outings of the year.
The Giants entered the offseason known to be targeting rotation help. Only Logan Webb remained under club control from the team’s primary five this past season. They’ve already re-signed Anthony DeSclafani and reportedly were nearing agreement to bring Alex Wood back. Kevin Gausman’s departure to the Blue Jays leaves one prominent vacancy, though, and teams often have to rely on seven or eight starters to navigate the injury attrition of a full season.
There’s still room for further additions to the rotation, and there should be plenty of spending capacity with which to do so. Cobb’s two-year, $20MM guarantee narrowly tops MLBTR’s two-year, $16MM forecast entering the winter.
The Giants now have a little more than $113MM in estimated 2022 commitments, according to Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. For a franchise that has logged player payrolls in the $200MM range in the past, a fairly modest Cobb signing shouldn’t be especially prohibitive to the club’s future goals.
Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (Twitter link) first reported that the deal was being finalized, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the club was making a strong run at the right-hander last week. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) reported the $20MM figure, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic (Twitter link) reported the existence of the option year, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted the salary breakdown.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.