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Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

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USA Today Sports

Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Cobb's comfort and familiarity with the AL East was the deciding factor in his decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

"They used the AL East and the success I've had in it to their advantage," the 30-year-old right-hander said Wednesday after finalizing a $57 million, four-year contract. "They kept challenging me with it and I love the challenge of pitching in this division and they know that over the times we talked. They did a really good job of making me feel like this is where I need to be."

Cobb gets $14 million in each of the first three seasons and $15 million in 2021, and he would earn a $500,000 bonus in each year he pitches 180 innings. Baltimore will defer $6.5 million from this year's salary and $4.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He gets $2 million of the deferred money on Nov. 30, 2022, and $1.8 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2023-32. If he doesn't pitch at least 130 innings in 2020, an additional $5.25 million of the final's year salary would get deferred, payable $1.75 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2033-35.

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Cobb has a full no-trade this year, then can list 10 teams from 2019-21 that he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

He had spent his entire six-season big league career with Tampa Bay and was the last big-name starting pitcher available in a slow-moving free agent market. He joined Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, who were signed last month, in a revamped rotation that includes holdovers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Cobb was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season. He pitched 179 1/3 innings in his first full year back after missing nearly two seasons because of Tommy John surgery.

He had turned down the Rays' $17.4 million qualifying offer in November, and Baltimore pursued him from the start of free agency.

"They didn't stop bothering me the whole offseason," Cobb said. "They were very persistent, and I think that you notice that confidence they have in you just by the way they speak to you and the questions you ask and not questioning anything that's gone on. Everyone's got flaws that they come with and potential things you could really harp on that might not be your strong suit, but they never went down that avenue. They always told me how much they like certain aspects of what I do on and off the field, and just kept repeating how well I fit in here."

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Cobb is 48-35 with a 3.50 in six big league seasons. Baltimore will lose its third-highest draft pick, currently No. 51, and the Rays get an extra selection after the first round as compensation.

Jose Mesa Jr. was designated for assignment Wednesday to clear a roster spot.

Baltimore opens on March 29 at home against Minnesota, but Cobb won't be ready to pitch then. He has agreed to be optioned to a minor league affiliate to help build up innings.

"I'm going to be pushing it as quick as I can," Cobb said. "That's going to be up to them. They've invested in me for a four-year period and as much as we know how much every game matters even early in April, we're going to have to look out for the overall future of this whole thing and whole contract and whatever they determine to be the way to protect me and my feedback from the bullpens I'm going to be throwing here in the next few days will probably determine the timeline."

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: David Hess has 'good chance' of making Opening Day roster

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: David Hess has 'good chance' of making Opening Day roster

With Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles just six days away, here are the latest updates from Spring Training. 

Player Updates:

Despite not having a great spring, pitcher David Hess has a "good chance" of making Baltimore's Opening Day roster, manager Brandon Hyde told reporters Thursday. Hess is likely to slot in as one of the Orioles' five starting pitchers. In six Grapefruit League appearances (four starts), he has an 0-2 record and 7.50 ERA. 

The Orioles made another round of cuts Thursday, reassigning utility man Jake Reinheimer and RHP Josh Lucas to minor league camp. Reinheimer put up an impressive 407/.429/.593 in 20 games this spring, but was never really in consideration for an Opening Day roster spot. 

Pitcher Josh Rogers tweaked his back after catching his spike in the mound during the Orioles' 7-5 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates Thursday and was removed as a precaution. With Opening Day less than a week away, Rogers probably won't make another Spring Training appearance. Meanwhile, Miguel Castro continued his strong spring, tossing a scoreless inning against Pittsburgh. In Grapefruit League play, Castro has an 11/2 K/BB ratio. 

Right fielder Joey Rickard had a stellar day at the place against the Pirates, doubling twice to raise his Grapefruit League batting average to .395. On the flip side, first baseman Chris Davis struck out three times against Pittsburgh, and is now batting just .148 this spring.

Injuries: 

C Austin Wynns: Oblique, day-to-day 

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, day-to-day

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, should be ready for Opening Day

3B Renato Nunez: Biceps, day-to-day

Coming Up:

Friday 3/22: Orioles @ Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m., Dunedin Stadium

Saturday 3/23: Orioles vs. Twins, 6:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium 

Sunday 3/24: Orioles @ Phillies, 1:05 p.m., Spectrum Field

Source: Rotoworld

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Renato Nunez not a lock for the Opening Day roster

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Renato Nunez not a lock for the Opening Day roster

With Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles just a week away, here are the latest updates from Spring Training. 

Player Updates:

Infielder Renato Nunez is still sidelined with a sore biceps, and it turns out he may not be the Opening Day roster lock most expected, as the coaching staff wants to see him get more at-bats this spring.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar was released by the Orioles on the day their deadline to keep him for the season. The former Royal struggled, hitting just .219 over 32 at-bats this spring.

Injuries: 

C Austin Wynns: Oblique, day-to-day 

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, day-to-day

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, should be ready for Opening Day

3B Renato Nunez: Biceps, day-to-day

Coming Up:

Thursday 3/21: Orioles @ Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park

Friday 3/22: Orioles @ Blue Jays, 6:07 p.m., Dunedin Stadium

Saturday 3/23: Orioles vs. Twins, 6:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium 

Source: Rotoworld

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