Orioles' Elias discusses possible options for Cobb, Rule 5 pick, adding 2nd Rookie League team - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Orioles’ Elias discusses possible options for Cobb, Rule 5 pick, adding 2nd Rookie League team

Starting pitcher Alex Cobb is entering the final year of a four-year, $57 million contract with the Orioles. Cobb, a 33-year-old right-hander, would be difficult to trade in this economic market.

“He’s serving a very important role on our team, stabilizing our rotation with the young guys, mentoring the young guys,” Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said in a Tuesday conference call.

“We’re planning on keeping him all year and would be thrilled if he contributed and is healthy again like he was last year and stabilized the entire roster that way.”

Cobb was 2-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts in the 60-game 2020 season.

“He is coming up on the last year of his deal with the Orioles,” Elias said. “He’s a big-time, known name across the league. Teams are going to be interested in him … I have no doubt if he pitches like Alex Cobb, he’s going to draw interest. We’re going to also see where we’re at and see what the situation is. Anytime you have a veteran pitcher pitching well, healthy and is essentially on a one-year deal, that’s going to attract a lot of interest.”

Elias said he’d be happy to hold on to Cobb.

“I think it would be beneficial for us to go into the season with Alex if that’s the way it shakes out,” Elias said. “Having that front-end spot of the rotation fortified with his ability and veteran presence, I can see a lot of positives there.”

Elias expects Rule 5 action: The Orioles, who have made at least one selection in each Rule 5 draft since 2006, have two open roster spots on the 40-man roster.

Elias thinks they’ll keep their streak intact.


“We’re rebuilding. I do believe it’s easier for a team in a rebuilding cycle generally to take a chance on the Rule 5 draft,” he said. “Also we’ve got the fifth overall pick, which usually means there are better players on the board than if you’re picking in the 20s.”

Elias will meet with the baseball operations staff on Wednesday night to discuss the draft.

“If, ultimately, there are only four players we feel are worth taking and they all go, 1, 2, 3, 4, then we won’t take anyone, but that seems really unlikely to me,” Elias said. “I imagine our list will be longer than that, and the Rule 5 never goes like that. I wouldn’t rule out a second-round pick. It’s less likely. We have the roster spots open.”

Elias on the minors: Major League Baseball has yet to release its restructuring plan on the minor leagues. MLB is planning to reduce the number of affiliated minor league clubs to four, so the Orioles will lose one full-season affiliate. However, they could gain another short-season team.

Currently, the Orioles run a team at their Sarasota, Florida complex that plays in the Gulf Coast League. Some other teams have two Rookie League teams, and it’s possible the Orioles could become another.

“I think we probably would,” Elias said. “We’re going to drop an affiliate. To help alleviate the transition for that, even if it ends up just being in the short term, I think that will be helpful.

“We’ve got a spectacular facility. We’ve got the space for that, and we’ve got the staffing for that right now. It’s really not that big of a deal even if both of those teams end up with smaller than normal rosters. It’s really not that much extra to say, ‘we’ve got two GCL teams.’ I expect that would be the plan this year, and it sounds as though the dust is finally going to settle on this soon, which I think will be good for everybody.

“There’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone into this. Major League Baseball has spent a lot of time. There’ve been so many stakeholders involved. It hasn’t been easy. No big changes are. I think the news will come out soon, and we’ll all recognize that we’re in a good spot for developing our players.

“It’s really important for us, for the Orioles. We’ve got one of the top farm systems in baseball. We’re a franchise that’s going to be extra reliant on scouting and player development. We’ve got a really cool setup with all these teams across Maryland and Virginia that are within Birdland, in arms reach of Camden Yards. We’re not looking to lose that. We like having that footprint. It’s served us well, and I think it will continue to serve us well.”

Coaching update: The Orioles haven’t decided on a third base coach to replace José Flores. Elias said that the team will be adding a coach, and he’s working on it during the Winter Meetings. He hopes the hire will be made before the holiday break.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    December 9, 2020 at 7:49 am

    2-5, 4.30 era, MENTORING the youngens, if he were in college he MIGHT be a walk on, not sure of what he’s teaching the youngens, but I know it’s not anything about mental toughness…go O’s…

  2. Orial

    December 9, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Let’s see Cobb going into final year of contract,solid first half,prime trade candidate at deadline,and then–a bad elbow. Call it fate. A Rule 5 shortstop and a Rule 5 5th starter–say it ain’t so. I repeat Mr. Elias–keep an eye on the attendence figures,the clock is ticking.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 9, 2020 at 9:11 am

      Orial, I have deliberately avoided commenting on attendance figures, and you should, too.

      Because of the coronavirus, it’s unlikely full attendance will be permitted in Baltimore or anywhere else—at least for several months.

      Many fans will be leery of being in crowds, restricted or not. Allowing 10 or 25 percent attendance doesn’t guarantee fans will be happy with it. Part of the fun of going to a game is being a part of a larger group, not spread out. If you allow 4,000 fans, they must be spread out, not base-to-base, and some may not want to sit in a small group in left or right field.

      Others may find that they don’t want to go to games any longer. Their lives changed because of the pandemic, and they’re not going to go out as much as they used to.

      Speculation on attendance is a waste of time until concerns over Covid disappear, which I hope will be soon.

      • The Cartoon Bird

        December 9, 2020 at 10:25 am

        Short-term (COVID) attendance does not matter. Long term, attendance matters. Where the money coming from to fund this rebuild and restricting of the organization? $100M sits in escrow about to be awarded to the team down south. The Orioles will essentially own a television network going forward that funds its direct competition for fans. The Orioles don’t own the stadium. Yes, when the lease is renewed, the State might agree to a reduced amount in exchange for the team remaining in Baltimore. But the reason why the lease hasn’t been signed is because of new revenue and its breakdown (concerts like Billy Joel, renovations/enhancements to the ballpark). If fans who decide not to physically go to games due to their health also decide to not watch the games on MASN, will advertisers pay more money? As fans, we’re being asked to be patient during this new direction because we’re a small market team with small market revenue. I hope Elias and the organization build it back better. I just hope there are still fans around who care by the time that happens.

    • whiterose

      December 9, 2020 at 10:44 am


      lease should have been extended long before corona if they intended to stay.

  3. fireladdie72

    December 9, 2020 at 9:06 am

    The Florida state league has room for another team.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 9, 2020 at 9:14 am

      Teams will be restricted to four affiliates, and the Florida State League is an affiliated league. We’re talking about entry-level teams owned by the major league teams.

  4. In The Triangle

    December 9, 2020 at 9:08 am

    “We’re rebuilding. I do believe it’s easier for a team in a rebuilding cycle generally to take a chance on the Rule 5 draft” This one’s for you, Dan!!


  5. willmiranda

    December 9, 2020 at 9:52 am

    If the O’s are looking for another coach, I understand Gregg Williams is available. He may not know baseball, but he’s a tanking specialist.

  6. ClayDal

    December 9, 2020 at 10:24 am

    All the angst over the Iglesias trade-who only played 24 of 60 games last year at SS, got me to thinking about some Orioles prospects who were traded for immediate help. Eduardo Rodriguez was a 17 year old International signing who the Orioles traded for 2 months of Andrew Miller. Josh Hader was a 19th round pick in 2012. Zach Davies was a 26th round pick in 2011. They have all had success after leaving Baltimore. For perspective, Garrett Stallings was a 5th round pick. And Pinto is only 19. So until we see them pitch, I’ll reserve judgment on the trade. Besides, Iglesias was a free agent after this year anyway. They should be able to find a cheap SS ( Freddy Galvis?) on the free agent market

    • CalsPals

      December 9, 2020 at 10:42 am

      Funny, nothing “free” about free agents…go O’s…

    • NormOs

      December 9, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Hey CD, genius 1 got all aquiver when you wrote his favorite word……..CHEAP!

  7. Tony Paparella

    December 9, 2020 at 10:42 am

    You hate to think about it but it is obvious to me anyone on the team right now (especially guys with a couple years or more in) are available for what Elias believes is the right price. And that certainly includes future monetary considerations for players like Anthony Santander and Mancini..Cobb is not going anywhere right now because of his salary but could go in a second if the Orioles pick up a large portion of it.Even that won’t happen until a month or more into the season providing Cobb looks decent.Cobb,and especially Davis, put a large amount of restraint on this team that will prevent anything overwhelming from happening just yet. But also at the same time it is most likely they won’t be investing in anyone more than a future prospect for any long amount of time anyway during this rebuild, as Rich alluded to in a comment to me yesterday. So there may be some more temporary disappointment yet to come for us fans, but it all depends on how The chips are falling for Elias and the front office.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      December 9, 2020 at 10:59 am

      Tony any player on any team is available for the right price. For example there’s talk of the Rockies trading Arenado after signing him to a huge deal. Plus isn’t that the whole point of making trades? To get value for players for the right price? Don’t fall in love with the names on the back of the jersey during a rebuild. This team as it sits right isn’t the Orioles of past years who have statues out in left center field in Camden yards. The job of these current players whether it’s to hold a roster spot, develop into a major piece for the future or to get traded for prospects is to make the name on the front of the jersey better.

  8. Shamus

    December 9, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    I third Barstool’s comment.

  9. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 9, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    I 4th Shamus’ third.

  10. WorldlyView

    December 9, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Rich, could you try to set up a conference call between Mr. Elias and the commentators, especially the cynics, on your blog? This would have the triple benefit of putting some really nasty, pointed questions to him, sensitizing him to fan discontent, and providing an outlet for our frustration. Thanks.

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