Milwaukee Brewers: Is Alex Cobb the next best option?

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: Starting pitcher Alex Cobb
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: Starting pitcher Alex Cobb /

With Yu Darvish going to the Chicago Cubs, the Milwaukee Brewers are now looking at other free agent pitching options. The best option left may be Alex Cobb.

Who Is Alex Cobb?

The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Alex Cobb as the number four pick in 2006, and he eventually became a highly touted prospect. He entered the league in 2011 and by 2012 had become one of the better starting pitchers in the Rays organization. His unfortunate claim to fame came in 2013 when a line drive off the bat of Eric Hosmer hit him in the head.  This injury led to further calls for protective head protection for pitchers.  Cobb missed a couple of months recovering from a concussion but overall had a successful year pitching.

In 2013 and 2014 he had ERA’s under 3.00 with an impressive WHIP of 1.15 and 1.13.  He also had double-digit wins in each of those seasons.

In 2015 Cobb began the season on the disabled list and it was eventually discovered he needed Tommy John surgery.  A promising career had been slightly derailed because of this injury.  When Cobb returned toward the end of the 2016 season, the results were not good.  This is not uncommon for pitchers returning from this type of surgery.

By 2017, Cobb had once again regained the form of a quality major league starter.  He registered a 3.66 ERA, had double-digit wins, and pitched 179 innings.

The Case for Cobb to the Brewers

There is no question that having the stigma as a pitcher who’s had Tommy John Surgery is a label that no pitcher wants.  However, Tommy John surgery is much more common today than it was a decade ago.  A 2013 survey of Major League players found that 25% of all pitchers received this surgery.  Those numbers should be even higher today.

Recent studies show that players returning from this surgery follow the typical aging pattern as those without surgery. After surgery, it usually takes pitchers about a full season before they are fully effective again.

Cobb seems to be healthy because he had good statistics in 2017 and threw quite a few innings.  In fact, the only year that Cobb struggled was 2016, the year he returned from surgery. He has shown throughout his career that he has the tools to be a top of the rotation starter. If signed, would be the number one starter for the Milwaukee Brewers on Opening Day.

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Cobb could be a good deal for the Milwaukee Brewers because Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta will get most of the attention and money. He did turn down a one-year qualifying offer from the Rays for over $17 million. This usually indicates a player is looking for a long-term contract.  As we get closer to Spring Training, free agents will hopefully begin to get anxious. That’s when the Milwaukee Brewers can make their move to sign Cobb to a long-term deal at a reasonable price.