One of the better free agent pitchers is on the Phillies radar
An extremely quiet offseason hasn’t stopped the Phillies from making big deals. Signing Carlos Santana, Pat Neshek, and Tommy Hunter, general manager Matt Klentak has been extremely active in the free agent market.
Many, if not all, of the top players available this offseason are still free agents, including starting pitcher Alex Cobb.
David Schoenfield of ESPN connected the dots with the top free agents remaining and predicted the Phillies to have the best bet to sign Cobb.
"Don’t take that best bet too seriously: Cobb could land in a dozen places. The Carlos Santana signing and immense flexibility in payroll, however, means the Phillies could emerge as Cobb’s top suitor as they continue to build for 2019 and beyond."
“Top suitor” likely means the highest paying club, which the Philadelphia is certainly in a position to do. Entering the offseason Odubel Herrera was the only player under contract, not listed as pre- or arbitration eligible. Now with Neshek, Hunter, and Santana on the books the organization has approximately $33 million on the books for next season. That’s as much as Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout will each make all season.
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Cobb went 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA last season with the Rays and has a career ERA of 3.50 in 115 starts.
The Cubs were reportedly high on Cobb, but a price tag of about $20 million per year has cooled off their pursuit of the 30-year-old, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
A three-year deal similar to Carlos Santana’s is likely where the Phillies would look to sign Cobb to stabilize their rotation. Beyond Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff the starting rotation is a mystery with Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, Mark Leiter, Ben Lively, and Vince Velasquez fighting for a job.
It’s unlikely the organization looks at an overpriced veteran such as Yu Darvish, although they have been linked to Jake Arrieta. Cobb would be the perfect fit for this team as a relatively young pitcher whose ceiling is still a relative unknown.
Perhaps Matt Klentak could thaw the frozen free agent market with a little hot stove action.