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The Red Sox made their splash, but Dombrowski may still decide to test the waters yet again.
The Red Sox agreed to terms with JD Martinez yesterday, after a long stand still due to his dreaded agent, Scott Boras. The move seemed inevitable, but due to the slow-paced market, the deal dragged on.
Despite the signing of Martinez, Dombrowski would be wise to inquire on a familiar face within the American League East – Alex Cobb.
The Sox rotation consists of four experienced lefties in Sale, Price, Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez with Rick Porcello as the only right hander. As fans have seen, ERod has experienced a heavy amount of injuries, despite flashing promise at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Due to the compiling injuries, Rodriguez is out for a few months to begin the season, leaving the final rotation spot to Steven Wright, Brian Johnson, or Hector Velazquez.
Brian Johnson is expected to get time in the bullpen which would leave the final rotation spot to Wright, or Velazquez.
Steven Wright is the early favorite, as he posted a 3.33 ERA in 2016, but struggled mightily in ’17 with an ERA over 8. Hector Velazquez is an unknown commodity, despite flashing solid numbers in AAA & Boston.
The massive amount of unknowns would allow Alex Cobb to emerge as a candidate to sure up the rotation.
Over his career, Cobb owns a 3.50 ERA in 115 starts – solid numbers for any pitcher that has played his entire career in the AL East.
Career ERA against AL East opponents:
2.70 ERA vs Baltimore
3.43 ERA vs Boston
3.23 ERA vs Toronto
2.99 ERA vs New York.
The 30 year old Cobb has proven himself to be battle-tested against some of the toughest lineups in baseball.
Even before this terrible offseason started, not much was expected for a big signing. He’s made 22 or more starts, 3 times in the majors. MLB Trade Rumors estimates that Cobb will receive a contract near 4 years / $48 million.
The expected number may seem high, but with the slow market it is possible that the Sox could negotiate a smaller deal. Yu Darvish has signed with the Cubs and Jake Odorizzi was sent to Minnesota which could lead to a lesser deal for the likes of Lance Lynn & Cobb.
The Tampa Bay Ray is not known for high strikeout counts, but his bread & butter has him as one of the better pitchers in the league at inducing ground balls. Between the heavy mix of curveballs and changeups, Cobb will induce plenty of double plays.
He will average 40-50 walks a year, as he looks to pound the bottom of strike zone with his curve and nasty change up (as seen below).
He missed the 2015 season due to undergoing Tommy John surgery, coming back briefly for five starts at the end of the 2016 season. In 2017, he made 29 starts, putting up a 3.66 ERA in 179.1 innings.
Most notably concerning the Yankees towering lineup, the Sox need all the arms they can gather up to make a run for the postseason.
The Red Sox could certainly use a bulldog like Cobb, who was born in Boston.
It would not be surprising to see Dave Dombrowski inquire on the free agent arm as Spring Training begins. If the Red Sox don’t sign Cobb, it would not be surprising to see him end up in Baltimore – a team with little starting pitching depth.
Whether he signs in Boston, or not, he would be an excellent fit.