Cobb, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, was one of four premier starting pitchers on the free agent market this offseason, comparable to St. Louis starting pitcher Lance Lynn, and a tier below Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. He is also the final one of that group to sign, and for more than probably was expected after Lynn had to settle for a one year deal.
The 30 year old Cobb missed all of 2015 and most of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery. In 2017, he put up a 3.66 ERA in in 179.1 IP, albeit with a 4.16 FIP. Cobb saw a decline in his strikeout rate after coming back from surgery, with his K rate dropping to 6.4 per 9 post-TJS, compared to 7.7 prior to his surgery.
Nevertheless, he’s considered to have mid-rotation stuff, and the expectation heading into the offseason was that he and Lynn would likely command 4-5 year deals at $15-17 million per year. The slow offseason market made it look like both pitchers would have to come well down off their asking price, but Cobb appears to have gotten something close to expectations, if Heyman’s report is accurate.
Since Cobb received a qualifying offer, the Orioles will lose a second round draft choice, and the Rays will receive a compensatory pick.
UPDATE — Ken Rosenthal says he is hearing four years for somewhere between $50 and $60 million.