Tap-In Question: With Cobb signing official, how would you grade the Orioles' offseason now? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: With Cobb signing official, how would you grade the Orioles’ offseason now?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

It’s snowy and cold outside my real door and outside the fake bar door.

Picked a bad week not to be in Florida.

Not only because of the weather, but because the Orioles made some serious news this week, signing right-hander Alex Cobb to a four-year, $57 million deal with roughly $20 million deferred (and they’ve also designated Rule 5 pick Jose Mesa for assignment).

Cobb is officially an Oriole; the Orioles have announced the deal and are having a news conference.

I’m officially stunned. I would have bet the deed to the Tap Room and my real house that there was no way the Orioles would sign Cobb to a four-year deal, and I repeatedly told fans to move on from Cobb because, given his expected demands, it seemed as the Orioles had. They were checking back but not moving forward.

And then all that changed. The Orioles went for it. Approved the biggest contract in club history for a free-agent pitcher.

What I want to know is does this fully change your mind on this offseason?

The Orioles went in needing two to three starters, a backup catcher, a utility infielder and some left-handed hitters. They now have Cobb. Andrew Cashner, Chris Tillman, Colby Rasmus, Pedro Alvarez, Danny Valencia and Andrew Susac.

Cobb is the only player of the group getting more than $10 million a year.

They made the improvements methodically, but improvements have been made.

One would think the Orioles’ offseason is officially done now, with Opening Day about a week away.

So, I want your grade on this offseason. I’d say the Cobb signing takes it from a C to a B+. I still would have preferred a little more diversity in the offense. But the rotation has improved dramatically. And they haven’t lost anything but some money and a 52nd overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Maybe, though, you are still of the philosophy that they should have began a rebuilding effort. If so, I’m sure the grade isn’t too high. I want your thoughts.

Tap-In Question: With the Cobb signing official, how do you rate the Orioles’ offseason now?



  1. Wade Warren

    March 21, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    B + still think Orioles will extend some players and for some reason I feel Manny and Schoop and Jones will be extended

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Wow. That would change the entire landscape.

    • Lookouts400

      March 22, 2018 at 9:12 am

      I have the same feeling, don’t know why, though.

  2. speedbump210

    March 21, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I’d probably take it down to a straight B, but otherwise I think you hit on everything else. I just don’t know what to make of Tillman at this point. So far, he has looked shaky and last year’s injury is still close in the rear view mirror. But Cobb and Cashner are respectable additions. I too would have liked to see some better additions offensively, namely a Jarrod Dyson-type to improve the outfield defense. And you still have a surplus in DH/1B types that displace players from their natural positions (Trey Mancini in particular). You still have to hope and pray for alot of things to go our way, but the team needed to do this to remain competitive. You also have room to add payroll if needed and the ability to trade pieces in a worst-case scenario and add minor league pieces to a more stable rotation.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Fair comments. Drink chip.

  3. Ezrine Tire Award

    March 21, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    They made a commitment to the season which was my bitch all along. Good on D2. If Tillman posts 15 wins we can make the playoffs in my estimation.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      15 wins may be a bit optimistic. But not impossible either. He’s done it before.

  4. Steve Cockey

    March 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    For me, Cobb bumps them to a B-/C+.

    I still think adding some extra OBP was a substantial need, and you can actually argue that they got a little worse in that department.

    But the rotation was obviously the chief concern, and with Cobb, it’s clearly better on paper than it was at season’s end.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      Probably a little low given how bad the rotation was to send the season. But I hear ya.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 21, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      What, being a bit tough on the management aren’t we?

  5. tomfink31

    March 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I’d give it a B-. Rasmus was not the outfielder I wanted but spending so little on him is probably the reason we ended up with Cobb. Love that we could end up stealing both Araujo and Cortes Jr. from their respective clubs. Beggars can’t be choosers and we wanted the team to grab pitching. They did. Cobb and Cashner are both upgrades over what we had and both are tradeable if this thing burns to the groun before end of ’19. Now I can buy tickets to see my team and not just Manny’s Goodbye Tour.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Yeah. Theoretically gives fans something to watch.

  6. boss61

    March 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    This has been an off-season of tremendous uncertainty, and that uncertainty looked as though it would affect the “plus or minus” in the team’s 2018 record. As of about the first of the year, I was forecasting about 68-94, plus or minus 10 wins. Things looked pretty bleak.

    Now I’m at 88-74, plus or minus perhaps 7 wins. The plus side should net a division championship and the least, home field advantage in the wild card. The minus side still is a satisfying improvement over last year.

    So I’m at about a B-plus. The front office needed to overhaul the starting rotation and did just that.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Right. There are other things that could have been done. But realistically adding Cobb, Cashner and re-signing Tillman to a disaster of a staff allows you to grade on a bit of a curve.

  7. mcgooding

    March 21, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I hate to be a pessimist, but I’d consider the Orioles offseason moves to be a C- at best. So let me explain. The Orioles did address their need for starting pitching, and I’ve always thought Alex Cobb was a better than average starter. Andrew Cashner on the other hand worries me. His numbers have been steadily declining, and now has to pitch in the dreaded A.L. East. My other concern is that the Orioles did not do anything to get faster on the base paths. They still don’t have a true lead off hitter and will still have trouble generating runs unless they come via the long ball. It would be nice to know that the Orioles could play “small ball” if need be. My last issue is our corner outfield. Trey Mancini has done an admirable job transitioning to left from first base. My concern starts in right field. So I’m guessing that Colby Rasmus is the answer? Rasmus is a better option than Trumbo, but how much better is he really? The guy is a journeyman, who can’t stick with a team. The Orioles have been tied to him for several years and yet he never wanted to play here. It seems to me that he has limited options and inked with Baltimore for a paycheck. He’s not the answer in right! So other than starting pitching, which could still be an issue, the Orioles didn’t do much to fill their needs in my opinion. I’ll still support the team, and hope that come September they’re still in the race and not trying to climb out of the A.L.Easts basement! Time will tell…

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      I think RF will be a work in progress. Rasmus is Ok. And they also have Santander and Hays in the wings. Perhaps not ideal but it has the potential of not being an issue (or, like you said, being an issue). I dock them for not finding a different type of player for RF. But Rasmus can play D and shouldn’t hurt you overall.

  8. Mustang21

    March 21, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    I’d say B+. After looking so bleak through most of the offseason the front office came through at the end. Pitching was our biggest need and we improved there. Would have loved to see CarGo in right field, but why block Hays.

    With the expiring contracts of so many pieces that made the O’s relevant again, they decided to go all in and I’m happier now.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Yeah next offseason ultimately played into this offseason I’d imagine.

  9. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    If they had extended Schoop, I’m thinking this would be an A+. As it stands now, I’ll grade Dan out at an A-.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      I’d definitely go A- with a Schoop signing. I don’t think I’m capable of giving an A+

    • JayHealey

      March 22, 2018 at 12:06 am

      Only the Yankees have the money for an A+ offseason lol.

  10. 66OsFan

    March 21, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    A solid B, and as I posted on social media, we now know why it started snowing on the first day of spring, two free-agent pitchers signed by the O’s.(yeah, okay three counting Tilly, but he’s a return, I’m not counting him) I’d love to see Schoop extended as well as Adam Jones, I really believe he’s a great clubhouse influence, as well as what he does for the community. I really like the Cobb signing, solid numbers against the AL East, and we’ve done well in the division the last few years, this just helps the cause. I’m looking forward to the season and seeing what plays out….pun intended.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Nice post. Drink chip.

  11. [email protected]

    March 21, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I probably agree with a B+ only in so far that now I’m interested in following than just watching! Still need speed and ability to manufacture runs so people are on board for manny et al. Less solo shots. Also we have no lefty on starting staff. May be over rated but balance helps. At least money was spent. Can you tell me why the O’s haven’t at least made some offer to Manny. Worst that happens he rejects it and we set beginning market?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Because they didn’t think they’d be close.

  12. Birdman

    March 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Maybe some temporary euphoria, but I think the Cobb deal ups the grade from a D to an A- … yes, the O’s have some other needs needs as well, but the starting rotation was the 800 pound gorilla … Cobb could be a difference maker between a 77 win club battling for 4th place, and an 87 win club battling for a wild card spot – no guarantees, but at least Cobb makes it a realistic possibility … and I agree that a Schoop extension would bump them uo to an A

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      That’s a little optimistic for me. But solid thinking.

  13. Roger

    March 21, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I think it has to go up to a solid B or B+. They solved most of the obvious needs (although the UTIL solution is kinda squishy). My original blueprint had them signing Cobb, Garcia, Tillman, Dyson or Jay, and Nunez and trading Trumbo. I think Rasmus is likely better than Dyson (or at least equivalent via different profiles). But Garcia was the LH unicorn. They did not take advantage of several opportunities this offseason presented which actually lowers the grade even if they succeeded in accomplishing what they set out to do. Either Dickerson or Cave or both would have been desirable additions (over any of Rasmus/Dyson/Jay/Presly). A Walker signing would have been better than Valencia/Velma/Alvarez/etc… and would have been decent prep for Machado’s exodus without too big a dropoff in production. None of those three would have come with an overly large commitment and would have been unexpected upgrades in line with what the team needed. They could have extended Britton below cost once he got injured (say 2/15 with $5M this year and $10M next) – another potential unexpected bonus which would have also made him more tradeable. A Schoop and a Jones extension would have been possible and good moves especially in a down market where FA has become scary. I can’t believe these ideas didn’t cross someone’s mind in the FO; they’re so basic. Getting these additional moves done would have graded the offseason out as an A+. I’d still give it an A- if Trumbo had been traded for something interesting. Even if Trumbo does produce at DH, he is blocking Hays/Santander at the moment.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      Solid thoughts. Tho I disagree with Trumbo blocking young kids. You don’t want those guys playing lots of DH at this point.

      • Roger

        March 21, 2018 at 7:42 pm

        Dan, Mancini should be DH and Santander/Hays should be in the field.

  14. Ben1

    March 21, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    on a 1 to 10 scale ….. 7. Guess I just have a low expectation of Rule 5 players.
    AND the team still does not have an Ace.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 5:36 pm

      You couldn’t just play along and give a grade Ben? I don’t ask much of you. 🙂


    March 21, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    B- . Cobb big upgrade however would have loved to sign Lynn especially at what he signed for instead of re-signing Tillman.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      There is a $9M difference there. Plus one year at Camden Yards usually isn’t inviting.

  16. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    March 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    I would grade it as a solid B up from a C-. With the addition of Cobb gives them a pitcher who moves to the top of the rotation as noted. They now have a good rotation and bullpen. No wonder its snowing In MD during the 1st few days of spring.

    Also, the 20 million in deferred money would free up dollars for an extension as several have noted. Hopefully something can be worked out with Schoop and Jones.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Yep. That would definitely increase the grade.

  17. willmiranda

    March 21, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I’ll give them a B, which is, I think, the best you can hope for in the off-season, since no real games are won or lost. What’s remarkable is that, despite lots of rumors, they lost nothing irreplaceable and lots of good riddance. Now, if they can just get Flaherty back from Philadelphia, my heart will give them an A.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Haha. Flash is no. 1 in your heart? That’s fantastic.

  18. JayHealey

    March 21, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    I think the Cobb signing puts the O’s back in the payoff conversation. What it also does is hopefully shows Chado that we want to win and maybe, just maybe he’ll decide to stay. I would’ve liked to have seen Cashner sign for at least 3 years. Good solid B for the offseason this year.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      He could be in Baltimore longer based on what he does as this progresses.

  19. jkneps63

    March 21, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    New here, good column. I would break down the off season grades to A for upgrading pitching staff but D for position players (27th in OBP, 7th in strikeouts and 8th GiDP last year). Adding Santander and Rasmus probably won’t help the line up improve in these stats. All 10 playoff teams last season were in the top 12 in OBP, very tired of seeing undisciplined ABs. Chicks may love the long ball, but getting on base consistently gets you to the playoffs.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Great post for your first one. If you continue to visit these parts, you’ll read my continual complaint about lack of OBP. Welcome aboard. Drink chip.

  20. Bancells Moustache

    March 21, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    B as of right now.

    Has the potential to be an A+, though that is dependent on a lot of “ifs”.

    If Santander proves to be real, Rasmus has a career renaissance, Machado plays like he is worth 300 mil, Trumbo and Davis start raking again, and Bundy Gausman and Harvey ascend. If all that happens, we can admit Duquette is like one of those movie submarine captains, calmly sipping his coffee as the ship reaches crush depth and the rest of the crew looks all panicky. As of now, we can at least say he isn’t the clueless doofus the Charm city faithful often make him out to be.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      Duquette’s made moves over the years I’ve disagreed with, but his overall track record has been pretty darn good wherever he has been for a lengthy career.

  21. Oriole110

    March 21, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    My grade went from incomplete to grade pending

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      That’s almost the dang same. Isn’t it?

  22. PA Bird Lover

    March 21, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    A – this is an improved ball club and the starters are overall better than who was taking the ball the past 6 seasons. Don’t print WS tickets yet, the games need played and injuries do hurt “all” teams.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Right. Long season — hey that’s my first long season of the day

  23. JParsley

    March 21, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    I feel better now then I did a month ago. If the offense can cut down on the strike outs (Davis and Trumbo) this team could have a decent chance of a playoff spot

    • Dan Connolly

      March 21, 2018 at 11:47 pm

      Or at least make more productive outs.

  24. Schwarzstop

    March 22, 2018 at 4:41 am

    I’ll go with a B+ Pitching was number one concern and I think they’ve done a great job in addressing it (assuming all five live up to expectations). I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see all five with 15 wins! That’s 75. Another 15-20 from the bullpen and the Norfolk Shuttle… The FO has made what looked like a repeat of last season, middle of the road, not better but not worse team into a group that puts the expected 1-2 finish by the Yanks and BoSox into question!

    While it won’t affect the off-season grade because it will be an in-season action, I believe the O’s will sign Manny and Schoopie to long term deals. The past resigning contracts of Jones and Davis is an indication to me that the Angeloses (Angelosii?) recognize the value to the fan base and the team to keep marquee players in the mix!

    Pretty Optmistic Post, huh? I work hard for a drink chip!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 22, 2018 at 9:49 am

      Definitely a drink chip. But I’ll have to cut you off after that. You seem giddy. I still don’t see a Machado re-sign but again I never say never with this organization.

  25. TheFatMan

    March 22, 2018 at 9:34 am

    I have been lurking for awhile and finally decided to post. I feel much better about the prospects for the upcoming season after the Cobb signing. While I am not saying that we will necessarily compete for the Division, I feel we have a legitimate shot now at a wild card shot. I give them a solid B now when I would have been at a C prior to this signing. Cashner was a slight upgrade and has looked good in the spring, but the low K rate and inability to miss bats scares me a bit.
    Rasmus in a platoon in RF could be a decent find for this year although adding even more strikeouts to the mix. God knows we needed another left-handed bat. It will be interesting to see if they add a backup infielder that can play in the middle or just keep Valencia and move Beckham, Schoop, and Machado around and stick Valencia at 3rd if an injury occurs. The 2 rule 5 pitchers both have some interesting qualities. Cortes has to be on to be effective and I think with an all right-handed starting staff, he could be of real value as the long man out of the pen. Araujo is the one that I am really excited about though. The drop off in velocity between his fast ball and change up really reminds me of Fernando Rodney. He could be around for awhile. My biggest worry if they are rolling along in the middle of the pack at the all star break is that they will not get anything for Machado. I think you have to trade him regardless of our position in July and get prospects as I do not think they will pony up what it will take to get him. That doesn’t upset me though because as much as I love his defense and his offensive potential, I don’t think a long term deal for the type of money they are projecting he will receive will lead to long term success for the team. I hope they resign Jones although I think he will need to transition to a corner spot shortly. I would target Schoop as my long term face of the team as although possibly a tier below Manny according to most, I think the cost savings there and his attitude make it a sounder investment. Last though is I hope they start Sisco out at triple A. His defense and arm strength are not ready for the Majors although his bat is quite capable of holding up.

    Sorry for such a long first post. Look forward each day to checking out this site! Let’s go O’s!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 22, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Lurking is good. Commenting is great. Especially with this type of post. Drink chip. Excellent job. Hard to disagree with any of your reasonings. I think you’ll find a different kind of forum here. We have a passionate but respectful clientele in this dive (and site overall). We poke fun on occasion and have different points of view, but we don’t tolerate disrespect. Welcome aboard.

  26. Glstem

    March 22, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    I would have preferred the Jon Jay signing for lead off.Orioles have too many
    players that struck out what too much.They need a lot of things to go right to make playoffs.

  27. John in Cincy

    March 22, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    A- The overarching need going into the offseason was for the Orioles to dramatically improve their rotation, to make it one with which they could have a chance to contend this season. They did just that, signing Alex Cobb, rated across the board as one of the top four free agent starters available. He has a proven track record as a winner, and isn’t daunted by pitching in the AL East.

    Andrew Cashner is also a nice addition. Both he and Cobb had far better ERAs in 2017–3.40 and .366. respectively–than any regular starter for the Orioles. Bringing back Chris Tillman is dicey, but if he can regain the form he showed before his injury, that becomes another rotation upgrade at a reasonable cost.

    True, they could have done more in bringing aboard position players to the organization, but the need wasn’t nearly as pressing, as there are a number of internal options that are very promising, such as hitter extraordinaire Chance Sisco, along with Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, and others.

    The offseason had been fairly good up to the past week, but the Cobb signing really has put it over the top as one of the best the club’s had in recent memory.

  28. The Wedge

    March 22, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    A strong, solid B. We’ve got the arms now in Cash and Cobb. (If Tilly rediscovers his magic, might we have a semi-Big 3 “Killer C’s” part of our starting rotation?) BP is strong as ever; I fully believe Mych, DoD, and BB will hold the fort and then some until Zach returns. Colby looks like he’ll help lock down RF with Santander –what a revelation HE’s been! Beyond that, we’ve got our table-setters, mashers, and everyone in-between set and ready to go.

    Now bring Flats back and put an end to this UTIF charade, and the grade jumps to a B+, maybe A-.

    I’m jacked about this season. I think a LOT of teams and “experts” are going to be surprised by this bunch….but then, that’s been SOP the last few years, right?

  29. Q70

    March 22, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Grade B Pitching upgraded over what Buck had to work with last year. Did nothing to improve OBS. Last yr it was .312. Since 2010 hasn’t been higher than .317. Last yr had 1412 Ks with only 398 BB need to cut this ratio down to less than 3/1.

  30. Mau

    March 22, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    I’m pleased.

  31. Disco Stupid

    March 23, 2018 at 11:00 am

    B+. However, dumping Trumbo and signing Jon Jay would have pushed to an A. Trumbo is replaceable and if he hits 35 homers that puts him in the Chris Carter range of value…who can’t find a job. 47 homers is the outlier and the team would have been better to move Mancini to DH, put Jay in LF, and have far more roster and positional flexibility. Manny and Schoop extensions would have garnered A+++ grades.

  32. Homerago

    March 25, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Cobb was a great addition. Orioles’ brass gave many of us heart palpitations by waiting until the 11th hour to sign him. The Orioles could hit the exacta by signing Scott Kazmir. If healthy, he will exceed the expectations of the O’s present 5th starter.

  33. Teejay

    March 25, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Hey Dan, obviously with the signing of Cobb it does make the Orioles off season a bit more accomplished looking. Before this signing I was thinking 66-72 wins. With Cobb’s presence I’ll bump that up to 78-82 wins. I think this offense is going to have some issues (I’m singing the same ole tune because I think it’s too one dimensional). I’m kinda seeing shades of ‘85 when we signed Lynn, Aase and Lacy to bolster the team.

    Yes we did fill holes in the pitching staff and I’m happy for that but the offense I’m afraid may need tending to now. I’m rooting for them of course but I’m keeping my expectations real.

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