Halos acquire Cobb, cash from Orioles

February 3rd, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Angels have acquired veteran right-hander and cash from the Orioles in exchange for No. 7 prospect Jahmai Jones, the team announced on Tuesday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that the Angels will pay $5 million of Cobb's $15 million salary, some of which is deferred. Baltimore will pick up the rest, some of which is also deferred.

Cobb, though, likely completes the Angels’ search for starting pitching after the team also signed lefty José Quintana to a one-year deal on Jan. 20. Cobb and Quintana will join a six-man rotation that includes Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning with Shohei Ohtani expected to start once a week. Jaime Barria could also be in that mix.

Angels general manager Perry Minasian didn’t rule out adding more starting pitching but it doesn’t appear likely they’ll make any high-profile additions to the rotation, which would rule out top free agent Trevor Bauer.

"I don’t know if our rotation is ever done in this game, especially with a 162-game season, but we’re looking to add depth and impact," Minasian said Wednesday. "It's something we'll continue to pursue as the season goes along, but right now, we feel like we're in a decent spot."

Cobb, 33, posted a 4.30 ERA with 38 strikeouts, 18 walks and eight homers allowed in 10 starts in 2020. He posted a 5.10 ERA in three seasons with the Orioles since signing a four-year, $45 million deal before the start of the '18 season. Cobb had more success with the Rays, carrying a 3.50 ERA in 115 starts with Tampa Bay from '11-17. Angels skipper Joe Maddon was Cobb’s manager with Tampa Bay from ’11-14.

"Just doing the homework on Alex and learning about the guy, he has outstanding makeup and is a huge presence in the clubhouse," Minasian said. "Great competitor. Obviously, Joe had him in the past in Tampa and was a huge fan. We feel like there's significant upside here, and he pitched well in the AL East, which was one of the tougher divisions to pitch in with the lineups he faced and the ballparks he pitched in."

Cobb remains a strike-thrower with a low walk rate, but he has seen his strikeout rate decline in recent years. He has above-average breaking stuff, but he had one of the league’s worst hard-hit rates last year, per Baseball Savant. But he does have a plus-sinker that generates ground balls, which should be a good pairing with the Angels’ strong infield defense.

The Halos are hopeful they can make some tweaks with Cobb, however, much like they did with Bundy, who was acquired in a trade with the Orioles last offseason and blossomed into the club's best starter. It’s the third trade Los Angeles has made with Baltimore over the past year, as it also acquired shortstop José Iglesias from the O's on Dec. 3.

With Cobb in the mix, it means the Angels are out on Bauer, who is the best starting pitcher available in free agency. The Halos and Bauer had been linked throughout the offseason, but they decided it would be better to spend their resources to improve multiple parts of the roster instead of spending it all on one star player.

"There are some things in [Cobb's] pitch mix that we think we can recommend and make some adjustments," Minasian said. "For us, the really intriguing part of Alex Cobb is the ability to put the ball on the ground and give us a different look out of the rotation. And this is the type of player that has a huge impact on the guys around him. Obviously, Dylan and José played with him and they had really great things to say about Alex."