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Yankees rumors: New York reportedly interested in Alex Cobb

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New York’s interest in Cobb makes sense, but the timing is weird.

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“MFW I look at the offers on the table”
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We’re now halfway through March, Opening Day is officially two weeks away and we’re still talking about free agents. That’s the result of the bizzaro offseason that just passed. When the Yankees entered the offseason, they made it clear they wanted to add starting pitching and outside of re-signing CC Sabathia, they didn’t make any moves. They wanted to get help, but at their cost.

The trade rumors came and went. Then slowly, and I mean extremely slowly, but surely the free agents started coming off the board too. Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, and Lance Lynn all signed deals lower than initially expected and none of them are suiting up for the Yankees. Alex Cobb, however, remains available.

While Darvish and Arrieta signed longer deals, Lynn only signed for one year at $12 million. If Cobb’s market has dropped to match Lynn’s or even below, would that interest the Yankees? Supposedly, yes. A source told Anthony Reiber of Newsday that if Cobb’s market dropped enough where they could still stay under the threshold, they wouldn’t “rule out” the Yankees signing him.

Obviously, the task became more difficult recently after the Yankees agreed to a deal with Neil Walker. His four million dollar guarantee gives the Yankees about $15 million to play with now and for the trade deadline. So unless Cobb’s market has dropped that drastically to where he’s only getting $4-5 million for one year, I just can’t see this happening. If his price really has dropped that low, though, they should just pull the trigger immediately.

If the interest in Cobb is real and they get him at that salary, it’d almost be a disservice not to sign him. That’s not just for the Yankees, that goes to the other 29 teams as well. For the Yankees though, they have a solid rotation as currently constructed but they are not built to handle any inevitable injuries with pure confidence. Adding Cobb would go a long way to make everyone feel better about their depth.

The problem, though, is that we don’t know if that interest is real. It certainly makes sense to want a pitcher like Cobb, but the timing does not make sense. It wasn’t even a week ago that Aaron Boone named Jordan Montgomery as the Yankees’ fifth starter. If the Yankees were to bring Cobb into the fold, Montgomery would be the only option to take out of the rotation.

It’d be very weird for Boone to announce something like that if the Yankees were still looking at other pitchers. A few weeks ago, Boone even specifically addressed Cobb and Lynn saying he didn’t think either of them were “in play” for the Yankees. One has to assume that Boone wouldn’t have the greenlight to make that sort of announcement if another pitcher was still in play. I won’t even go into how unfair that’d be to Montgomery.

We don’t even have to go as far back as a few weeks ago. Just this past Monday, Brian Cashman spoke about Cobb.

Despite a rapidly falling free-agent market — which now has landed Neil Walker in the Bronx — the Yankees aren’t interested in a one-year deal with Alex Cobb, GM Brian Cashman said before Monday’s 2-1 loss to Minnesota.

While the Bombers could add Cobb and still stay under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold, they aren’t interested in sacrificing draft picks in order to sign him.

The Yankees have built a strong farm system the past few years, but they’ve had a lot of graduations and trades. Fortunately, they have incredible depth and have managed to still have a top farm system. It makes sense that they would prefer to keep their draft picks. Plus, if Cobb’s cost was similar to Lynn’s, that would pretty much put them at the limit as far as payroll and would limit what they could do at the deadline. A team with World Series aspirations can’t really afford to not have any wiggle room there.

The Yankees’ interest in Alex Cobb makes sense, but the timing is simply weird. For now, I’ll chalk this up as a rumor that has no legs. Anyway, at least we can enjoy this tweet: