Giants finalize deal with Alex Cobb

December 1st, 2021

The Giants and free-agent right-hander agreed on a two-year, $20 million contract, the team announced on Tuesday night. San Francisco is in the process of rebuilding its rotation after starter Kevin Gausman agreed to a five-year deal with the Blue Jays on Sunday.

Cobb will earn $9 million in each of the next two seasons, and his contract includes a $10 million club option for the 2024 campaign. If the Giants decline the option, Cobb will be entitled to a $2 million buyout.

By landing Cobb and re-signing Anthony DeSclafani to a three-year, $36 million contract, the Giants now have two veteran starters to slot behind emerging ace Logan Webb in their 2022 rotation. They are also close to finalizing a deal with left-hander Alex Wood, though they are likely to continue to seek out additional starting depth this offseason.

Cobb has been a solid starter throughout his 10-year career when healthy, but it’s the “when healthy” part that may be cause for concern as he goes into his age-34 campaign in 2022. His most recent stint on the injured list was due to a right wrist injury and he was limited to 18 starts last season, over which he posted a 3.76 ERA (119 ERA+) for the Angels.

A fourth-round Draft pick of the Rays in 2006, Cobb made his MLB debut with Tampa Bay in May 2011. The right-hander pitched well over nine starts that year, finishing with a 3.42 ERA. He struggled in his first full season in ’12, to the tune of a 4.03 ERA in 23 starts, but that was a precursor to a pair of strong seasons in 2013-14, over which he turned in a 2.82 ERA (134 ERA+) over 49 starts.

Cobb missed the entire 2015 season and most of the ’16 campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery. He pitched well in ’17, which would be his final year with the Rays, posting a 3.66 ERA over 29 starts. That offseason, he signed a four-year, $57 million contract with the Orioles.

Cobb’s tenure with Baltimore was marked by injury and struggles -- he made 41 starts for the Orioles from 2018-20, posting a 5.10 ERA. He was traded to the Angels prior to the ’21 season, reuniting him with his former manager with Tampa Bay, Joe Maddon.

While he was sidelined for a good chunk of the season due to injury, Cobb performed well when on the mound and had a career-high strikeout rate of 25 percent (his previous high was 23.1 percent in 2013). He was also in the 94th percentile among qualified pitchers in barrel rate per Statcast, giving up a barrel on just 4.2 percent of batted balls against him in ’21.