Alex Cobb, the former Rays ace who required Tommy John surgery two years ago, became a free agent when he declined the Rays qualifying offer at the start of the season. That one year deal would have paid him $17.4 million to stay in Tampa Bay for the 2018 season.
With the off-season from hell dragging on, there was some concern Alex Cobb would not find a deal on the free agent market, but he appears to be close on a deal that works well for everyone involved.
Given the value of that contract (believed to be $57 million), and because Alex Cobb declined the $17.4 million qualifying offer to stay in Tampa Bay, the Rays will be entitled to a first round draft pick in compensation, per the updated Collective Bargaining Agreement:
Under the new rules, if the team that loses the free agent is a revenue-sharing recipient, based on its revenues and market size, then the selection -- if and only if the lost player signs for at least $50 million -- will be awarded a pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A of the 2018 MLB Draft.
The off-season is not yet over, but right now that projects to be a draft pick in the No. 35 range overall. The Orioles, meanwhile, will forfeit their third-highest selection in the 2018 draft.
Alex Cobb, meanwhile, gets paid — and that’s great news for a player we’ve all admired for many years. He also remains in a comfortable division (as comfortable as the AL East can be), slotting in between Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausmann in the O’s rotation.
The only downside here is that the Rays will undoubtedly have to face an old friend a couple times per year for the next four seasons, but for a first round draft pick and given the personal benefit to the player, I’ll take it.