Rather than add an external candidate to the roster, the Los Angeles Dodgers are heading into the 2017 season relying on their pitching depth to fill the starting rotation. It was an area of strength that Los Angeles trimmed away it, dealing Jose De Leon and Chase De Jong in separate trades.
While the Dodgers appear confident in the prospect of beginning the season with some combination of Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood, that sentiment could change come the non-waiver trade deadline. Of course, the club could remain confident at that time and still elect to trade for a starting pitcher simply as a means of upgrading the roster.
One option may be Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Alex Cobb, who has drawn interest from the Chicago Cubs and Dodgers, according to Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times:
There are already whispers of potential interest elsewhere, including two teams with intimate connections — the Cubs, managed by ex-Ray Joe Maddon; and the Dodgers, presidented by ex-Ray Andrew Friedman.
Cobb was selected by the Rays in the fourth round of the 2006 Draft, which was the first Andrew Friedman oversaw as the team’s executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager. Cobb made his MLB debut in 2011, but hasn’t pitched a full season in the Majors since 2014.
He underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2015 and didn’t return with the Rays until September of last year. Cobb yielded an 8.59 ERA, 5.60 FIP and 1.77 WHIP in five starts last season. After a small sample size in 2011 and shaky performance the following season, Cobb hit his stride from 2013-14.
He went a combined 21-12 with a 2.82 ERA, 134 ERA+ and 3.29 FIP in 49 starts, overcoming a concussion that was a result of being struck by a line drive, and an oblique strain during that time.
Cobb, who won’t turn 30 years old until October, is set to earn $4.2 million in what will be his first full season since the Tommy John operation. He’s on track to reach free agency after the season concludes, making him a prime candidate to be traded by the Rays this summer.
Since joining the Dodgers front office as president of baseball operations, Friedman has twice deal with his former club. The first trade came in November 2014, when the Dodgers acquired Adam Liberatore and Joel Peralta in exchange for Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris.
This past January, the Dodgers traded Jose De Leon to the Rays in exchange for Logan Forsythe to address their need at second base.