With the Tampa Bay Rays in the midst of a playoff push, it makes sense that they would keep those players that could help. As such, it is not a shock that the Rays are not looking to move Alex Cobb.
It is difficult to imagine any one series in July as a must win, but the Tampa Bay Rays four game set against the Boston Red Sox may have been exactly that. With the Rays being one of the surprises of baseball this season, anything less than a split may have delegitimized their excellent performance thus far.
The Rays took that first step on Thursday, as they scored four runs against Chris Sale to earn the victory. Then, yesterday, Tampa Bay won a 1-0 pitcher’s duel, with the only run coming from a Jesus Sucre sacrifice fly. That run allowed Alex Cobb to earn the victory, as he shut down the Red Sox on two hits and a walk in 7.2 innings of work.
While Cobb has struggled at times this season, performances such as the one he had yesterday highlight his value. This also highlights his value to other teams, as any contending squad would be interested in adding Cobb to their rotation. Likewise, with performances such as the one he had yesterday, one can understand why the Rays are not going to trade Cobb.
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In a way, this season puts the Rays in a quandary. While they had hoped to contend this year, the expectations were that players, such as Cobb, would be traded at the deadline to bring in more prospects. Instead, the impending free agent has proven quite valuable to the Rays own postseason hopes.
Even with Cobb staying put, the Rays farm system is quite a strength. Pitchers like Jose De Leon, Brent Honeywell, and Chih-Wei Hu will be forcing their way to the majors soon. And prospects like Willy Adames, Jake Bauers, and Jesus Sanchez will provide youth on the offensive side. Although the Rays may not get whatever return Cobb would bring back, the farm system is still in great shape.
And, as it currently stands, so are their playoff hopes. The Rays are, right now, tied for the second Wild Card, one game behind the Yankees for that top spot. As New York has scuffled lately, and the Minnesota Twins barely look the part of a postseason contender, it would not be a surprise to see Tampa Bay solidify their hold on a postseason berth.
Should that happen, Alex Cobb could be a key reason why. If nothing else, he is not going anywhere this year.