Baltimore Orioles: Finding a trade partner for Alex Cobb
The Baltimore Orioles have expressed a willingness to move Alex Cobb, but will they be able to find a trade partner given Cobb’s performance early in 2018, and his contract?
The Baltimore Orioles aren’t rushing to the trade market trying to move Alex Cobb, but they’ve expressed a willingness to move him if the right deal is out there. There are more than a handful of teams who could use Cobb’s presence in the rotation, the Orioles included.
There are benefits to moving Cobb, not least of which would be getting out from under his contract. He’s not overly expensive; Cobb is essentially on a market value deal, with 3 years and $43 million remaining, though there is a ton of deferred money in the contract. But in a vacuum, it’s still a lot of money that the Orioles could spend elsewhere.
Cobb does have no-trade protection in his contract; he had a full no-trade clause for 2018, and he can block deals to 10 clubs annually from 2019-2021. Depending on the trade, this could be a snag in a potential deal.
It’s also been suggested that the Orioles might have to eat some of Cobb’s contract if they were to deal him, which I’m not sure I agree with. Teams are more and more often avoiding paying veterans, but Cobb’s contract seems more than fair, especially given his performance in the second half of 2018. It might lessen the return for him, but I don’t think the Orioles should retain any of his contract.
If the Orioles are intent on trading Cobb, they’ll be able to find a suitor, regardless of whether they have to eat a portion of his contract. So where could he end up?
Almost every team in the majors could use a consistent, controllable starting pitcher, but which of them would be interested in acquiring Cobb? There are three that immediately come to mind.