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OC Register: Angels reportedly nearing deal for starter Alex Cobb

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The Angels are reportedly nearing a deal to acquire right-hander Alex Cobb, adding another veteran starter looking to bounce back to form.

Details of the deal, first reported on Monday by The Athletic, are uncertain, including who the Angels would be sending to the Baltimore Orioles for Cobb.

Cobb, 33, has a career 3.88 ERA in nine big league season, but he missed almost all of the 2019 season with back, knee and hip injuries. In a shortened 2020, he posted a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts.

Cobb is due to make $15 million in 2021, his final year before free agency.

If Cobb can pitch to his career numbers, he would certainly be an upgrade for the Angels. However, he doesn’t have the upside to bolster the top of the rotation, and his recent performances have suggested he may more of a back-end starter.

Cobb would be the second starter the Angels have added this winter, joining Jose Quintana. Quintana also has impressive career numbers, but he hasn’t been as good in recent years.

Quintana also signed a one-year deal, meaning he and Cobb are both set to be free agents after the 2021 season, as are returning Angels pitchers Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heaney.

Griffin Canning and Shohei Ohtani are also expected to be part of an Angels six-man rotation this season.

Cobb broke into the big leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, pitching for Joe Maddon.

Over his first 81 starts in four seasons with the Rays, he posted a 3.21 ERA. Cobb, however, underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2015. He returned to the majors in September 2016.

In 2017, he continued to pitch at nearly the level he had before surgery, with a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts for the Rays.

Cobb then signed as a free agent with the Orioles prior to the 2018 season, and he hasn’t been the same pitcher. Although Cobb was moving into a much more hitter friendly park in Baltimore than Tampa, his home-road splits were not significantly different during his seasons with the Orioles.

Cobb’s peripheral numbers have also not been good since he signed with the Orioles.

He has been among the worst pitchers in allowing hard contact in 2018 and 2020, the two years he pitched enough for a representative sample.

Cobb also has struck out 6.3 batters per nine innings since Tommy John surgery, compared with 7.7 before. He also issued 3.1 walks per nine innings over the 10-start sample in 2020, which was the highest since he walked 3.6 per nine in his nine-start debut season.

More to come on this story.

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