The Los Angeles Angels trade for Alex Cobb became official Tuesday afternoon. The acquisition of the former Baltimore Orioles starter is the front office’s latest attempt to add depth to the team’s beleaguered pitching staff. The Angels sent infielder Jahmai Jones to the Orioles, who also sent back cash considerations to help offset Cobb’s $15 million salary for the 2021 season. Jones was a 2nd round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, but his prospect star had dimmed in recent seasons. He did, however, make his MLB debut during 2020.
As for Cobb, the team is hoping to see him return to the success he had at the beginning of his career in Tampa Bay. Simply put, Baltimore wasn’t kind to the right-hander, as he posted a 5.10 ERA during his three seasons with the organization. For his career, Cobb’s ERA is 3.88 over the course of nine seasons. The Angels trade for Cobb comes a season after they traded for his former teammate, Dylan Bundy. While expectations for Cobb aren’t nearly as high as they might be for Bundy this upcoming year, only a select few saw Bundy’s potential after leaving the AL East before the 2020 campaign.
While the Angels should be applauded for their efforts in bolstering their pitching depth, Cobb isn’t a top of the rotation starter. Yet, with Shohei Ohtani stating his intention to pitch in 2021, Cobb works well as a member of a six-man rotation. No, the Angels trade for Cobb doesn’t elicit the same excitement as a big-time free agent signing (looking at you, Trevor Bauer), but it does fill major league innings at a league average or better level. Even his 2020 numbers would be a major upgrade for a team that counted on Julio Teheran and his 10.05 ERA. Whatever Cobb brings to the table in 2021, the trade was a good one by Perry Minasian’s front office. His shrewd moves have helped the Angels improve in the short-term while maintaining excellent payroll flexibility. Hopefully, they can spend that money on a pitcher who will really move the needle.
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