LA Angels: The case for and against extending Alex Cobb
Why the LA Angels shouldn’t extend Alex Cobb:
There is, however, an argument against the LA Angels extending Alex Cobb after this year.
The biggest issue right now is his injury history.
Health issues have kept Cobb from ever topping 30 starts or 180 innings at any point in his 10-year career. Even with a lighter workload in this year’s rotation, he still went on the IL twice, most recently with right wrist inflammation that has kept him sidelined since July 30.
Then there’s his struggles in previous seasons. While he may be having a nice bounce back year, his previous three seasons saw him put up a combined 5.10 ERA (never finishing with a sub 4.50 SIERA) in 41 starts.
Even in 2021, Cobb has had some noticeable problems. With below average marks in fastball spin rate (2060 rpm), fastball velocity (92.6 mph) and hard hit rate (39.7%), among other things, one has to wonder if his success this year is sustainable as he continues to climb in age.
There’s also his salary to consider. After earning $15 million this year, Cobb and his agent will no doubt demand a payout closer to $18 million per year moving forward.
Even in a scenario where the Angels decide to sign another pitcher in addition to Cobb, his contract alone would relegate the team to pursuing lower tier/higher risk options (think Quintana and his current $8 million salary).
This is where we really get to the heart of the matter. If the team is hypothetically willing to spend this much on Cobb, then they also have to consider other similarly priced pitchers as well.
For instance, Marcus Stroman is set to become one of next year’s most sought-after free agent starters and has flirted with the idea of coming to LA in the past.
Currently having a career year with the Mets on an $18.9 million payout, he will likely command a price somewhere between $20 and $25 million per season. As a younger and all-around more talented pitcher than Cobb, that extra cost might not be too concerning to the front office.
Going with a more compelling option, there’s also Max Scherzer to consider. The future Hall of Famer was recently connected to the Angels after the team reportedly went after him at the deadline and is currently hoping to pursue him during the offseason.
While he may be 37 years old, injuries have never really been a big issue for “Mad Max,” and the benefit of a six-man rotation may help continue his run of good health moving forward.
Showing no signs of regressing, Scherzer’s combination of raw talent, competitive drive and leadership qualities might make the $25 million+ salary worth it.
All of this is to say that there are other superior (albeit more expensive) options to Cobb that the Angels have to consider. That said, what Cobb has done for the Angels this season should not be overlooked either.
In the end, extending Cobb may very well be a good decision, but with the Angels desperately needing to make a serious push in 2022, it might not be the best decision.