The Baltimore Orioles have reportedly “remain[ed] in contact” with top free agent starting pitchers Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, and Lance Lynn.
All offseason there were reports that the Baltimore Orioles had been interested in both Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, however not nearly as many reports that they were interested in bringing Jake Arrieta back to Baltimore.
These reports from Kubatko come not long after Kubatko also reported that the Orioles were planning on moving on from Arrieta, Cobb, and Lynn because the three pitchers were not a financial match.
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While these two reports may sound contradictory, it’s very possible that they’re both true. Dan Duquette likes to wait out the market and sign a player late for a lower price. The Baltimore Orioles may have moved on from what Arrieta, Cobb, and Lynn want right now, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they signed him if they’re able to get their price down.
The Baltimore Orioles have a fair amount of money left on payroll (around $30 million) so they have the money to sign a pitcher, and are certainly interested in doing it. However, given their recent failures with Ubaldo Jimenez and Yovani Gallardo, it’s understandable why they’re hesitant.
Orioles fans are more than well aware of the saga of Jake Arrieta, who was traded to the Chicago Cubs by the Orioles along with Pedro Strop for pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. Arrieta later went on to win a Cy Young Award with the Cubs in 2015, posting a 1.77 ERA and winning 22 games.
Last season with the Cubs, Arrieta saw his worst season since his time in Baltimore, going 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and an 8.71 K/9. Given that he also had a 4.16 FIP that season, there’s reason to believe that the 31-year-old should’ve had an even worse season.
The likelihood that Arrieta comes to Baltimore is, to me, extremely slim. Based on Arrieta’s comments from a Sports Illustrated article in 2016, it seems that he holds a bit of resentment towards the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, and it’s doubtful he’d want to return. Still, the Orioles need pitching and if the price is right, they’d be crazy to turn him away.
Cobb, 30, has had some significant success in the major leagues. He came up through the Rays organization and had two straight excellent years with them in 2013 and 2014, pitching to a 2.76 and 2.87 ERA respectively.
Cobb sat out all of 2015 after having Tommy John surgery and only pitched 22 innings in 2016. Last season was his first full season pitching since his surgery, and while he wasn’t back to pre-surgery form, he was still excellent, going 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP, and a 6.42 K/9.
As for Lynn, also 30, he has pitched for the Cardinals for his entire career, and has been fairly successful with them, keeping his ERA below 3.00 every year of his career, including an excellent 2014 season that saw him pitch to a 2.74 ERA over 203.2 innings pitched.
Lynn missed all of the 2016 season after having Tommy John surgery, and came back last year to go 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and a 7.39 K/9.