When the Angels talk about adding two frontline starters in 2022, the names Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray and Kevin Gausman come to mind. They are the aces leading a fairly large, talented, and expensive pool of free agent starters this winter.
Alex Cobb isn’t as bubbly a name and nowhere near as dominant as the pitchers mentioned above, but he might be worth a look. In the case of the Angels, who acquired Cobb from the Baltimore Orioles in February for minor league infielder Jahmai Jones, it would be a second look.
In two starts since missing six weeks with a right wrist injury, Cobb has given up a deserved run and six hits, struck nine and run five, in 10 2/3 innings of wins against American League Central winner Chicago White Sox on September 16 and the AL West winners Houston Astros on Thursday evening.
The 34-year-old right-handed is 8-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 17 starts of the season, hit 93, went 31 and gave up only three home runs in 88 1/3 innings.
“I don’t know what the future holds for him or what he’s up to, but what you’ve seen the last two times I’ve seen many times in the past,” said Angels manager Joe Maddon, the 2011 Cobb in Tampa Bay -2014.
“It’s not like it’s a smaller version; it’s pretty much the same version. It looks a lot like the one I had in Tampa Bay. The speed is the same. If this separation takes place, it will be devastating. “
Cobb is in the final year of a four-year, $ 57 million deal he signed with the Orioles prior to 2018 -annual deals. Cobb definitely sounds open to a return.
“I loved every minute [my time with the Angels]”Said Cobb after beating Astros 3-2 on Thursday evening. “From the moment they called me during the off-season until today, everyone has treated me with so much respect and kindness.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Joe. He gave me my first chance when I was 23 and he gave me another chance to bring me here when I was 33. I think he manages people better than anyone I’ve met in this life.
“And I really enjoyed this fan base. When we won at the beginning of the season, they came out in full force and stood behind us. There were games where I felt that playoff intensity. The weather is pretty nice too. ”
The chances of Cobb returning in 2022 will likely depend on what kind of deal he wants to take on from the Angels and how it compares to other offers.
Cobb probably hasn’t improved his chances with two stints on the injured list this season, but he’s done well when he’s healthy. He does not know whether he has done enough to justify an offer from the angels.
“That’s not really something that I have any insight into,” Cobb said. “I think we have developed a good enough relationship to at least have casual conversations and see where the other person is.
“I don’t know what your plans are, I don’t know what my plans are, but I think Perry [Minasian, Angels general manager] and me and the boys, we have a good relationship in which we would at least communicate. “