Free agent RHP Alex Cobb is reportedly down to two teams in his decision on where to sign for the 2018 season and beyond, according to Peter Gammons of The Athletic and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The 30-year-old will likely pick either the Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees.
Cobb could follow his old manager Joe Maddon to the Windy City, where the Cubs have seen postseason success and a World Series title in 2016. But, he could also fit in a Yankees rotation that is looking for a solid fifth starter.
Cobb has a 3.12 ERA in five starts at Yankee Stadium. He is an extreme ground ball pitcher, with 2017’s 47.8 percent ground ball rate being the lowest in his MLB career. He has averaged just 0.84 home runs per nine innings in his career, which is an important stat if he were to pitch in the Bronx. Since missing all of 2015 and all but five starts in 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Cobb has a 13-12 record and 4.20 ERA. Not exactly eye-popping numbers.
What may push Cobb to the Cubs could be a simple lack of space with the Yankees. CC Sabathia has been clear that he wants to return to the Yankees, and Brian Cashman said he was “excited” to speak with Sabathia’s agent. It’s also no secret that the Yankees are in the thick of the pursuit for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani should he be posted by his NPB team. The Yankees also got a surprisingly fantastic season out of left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who may begin the season in Triple-A.
It’s frequently said that you can never have too much pitching. But, I think Cobb would only fit in with the Yankees if they are unable to land both Ohtani and Sabathia. The Cubs are more desperate than the Yankees are for starting pitching, and Cobb could prove to be too expensive for a team looking to get under the luxury tax threshold.