Report: Orioles have interest in Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb
The Baltimore Orioles have some serious ground to make up in the AL East if they want to compete with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, and they may be interested in signing a top starting pitcher to help with that.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Orioles have been keeping their eye on the top remaining pitchers on the free agent market, which would be Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb. The former will likely cost more, while the latter has proven he can pitch in the AL East after spending the first six seasons of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Heyman notes that signing with the O’s is probably not Cobb’s first choice, but nothing can be ruled out this deep into the offseason. We already heard of at least one NL team that is keeping tabs on Arrieta, but that is probably true for many teams as they wait to see if the right-hander can be had at a bargain price.
The Orioles finished dead last in the AL East last year after they came in second — just four games behind the division-winning Red Sox — in 2016. A big reason for the regression was pitching, as their team ERA of 4.97 last season ranked 27th out of 30 MLB teams. Signing a pitcher like Arrieta or Cobb would certainly address that issue.
However, the O’s need to decide if they want to contend or go into rebuilding mode. If they’re not planning to re-sign their best player, spending big money on a starting pitcher may not make a lot of sense at this time.