Alex Cobb throws pitch

Cobb trade proves Angels are risking subpar rotation once again in 2021

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The Angels are working on a trade for Orioles starter Alex Cobb.

Cobb is owed $15 million in 2021. This would be the second starting pitching trade in as many offseasons between the two franchises after the Angles acquired Dylan Bundy a year ago.

The Bundy trade worked out. His unquestionable talent began to flourish in south California. The Angels would be making a trade for Cobb with optimism of doing the same with the former Ray, who owns a 5.22 FIP in 41 starts as an Oriole.

Details of the trade are still unknown. It’s expected Baltimore would have to eat some salary. The prospect cost will be minimal. It’s easy to paint this as a low-risk swing from the Angels, and it largely is. Once again, though, they are gambling on their starting pitching. The risk on Cobb specifically is minimal, but the risk for the team as a whole is more significant. Another season with subpar starting pitching is another year of Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani wasted.

Jose Quintana was a solid, if uninspiring, signing. Unlike Cobb, Quintana at his best is an innings eater, but projections are not kind. Bundy, Quintana, Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning and Ohtani all project for an ERA between four and five per Depth Charts. Cobb’s numbers will be similar.


Angels projected rotation

There’s upside in this group. Cobb has pitched at an All-Star level in the past. Bundy has the stuff to be a fringe Cy Young kind of guy. Compared to the rotations of other American League supposed contenders, they are far short once again, however. Trading for Cobb does not move the needle for these Angels.

The Angels’ payroll is already huge. They are fourth in committed money for 2021. Splashing on Trevor Bauer or Jake Odorizzi might have been out of their price range. Perhaps, if that is the case, it speaks to poor roster planning, or it shows an ownership group that should be willing to spend more given the size of their market.

Cobb and Quintana are nice back-end rotation arms. Both have potential to be more effective than that, but for now, this looks like another underwhelming offseason for an Angels roster which should be doing all they can to compete in 2021.

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