RHP Alex Cobb – 6’3″ 205 lbs – 28 years old
Had TJ surgery in May 2015. Oddly enough, if Cobb was to return to the rotation he would be the oldest pitcher among them at 28 years old. Not only is that an indication of how young the rotation is, but it’s also an indication of how much Cobb may have left in the tank.
Before the injury, Cobb was known as the Ace of the rotation and seemed to be on course to reach 200 IP for the first time in 2015. He had a 3-year track record of dominance and was well-above .500 over that time.
The issue Cobb will have in returning is trusting his stuff and that his arm will hold up as he pushes himself to pitch well in 2016. The recovery time for relievers, such as Whitley, is much shorter than it is for a starter for good reason. Cobb will have to rebuild the strength required to pitch 6 innings or more per start, and to do so without the velocity tailing off in the later parts of the game.
Should Cobb be successful in his return from TJ surgery, he’ll join what looks to be a formidable group of starters. The insurance he provides as the team will likely have hiccups in their rotation and need to make adjustments throughout the season is invaluable.
With an expected return some time in August, he could have the same kind of impact for the Rays that Marcus Stroman was able to provide for the Jays in 2015. A trio of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, and Alex Cobb leading the Rays into the playoffs is a very enticing scenario to say the least.
A great leader, a great clubhouse presence, and a tremendous talent, Cobb could provide the biggest boost to the second half of the 2016 season for the Rays and we look forward to his return to the mound.
The Rays three TJ surgery returnees are set to support the core that remains from the 2015 season. From a quality pen addition, to a pen or rotation addition, and the possible return of an ace, the Rays are lucky to have depth set to return in 2016. As they look to make a push towards a playoff spot, they’ll need all of the help they can get in what is a beast of a division in the A.L. East.