Alex Cobb, RHP
This would be at the top of the list for the Miami Marlins. Alex Cobb is an excellent right-hander who will have just turned 30 when free agency rolls around. Cobb has flown under the radar for most of his career having pitched in Tampa Bay, but don’t let the lack of notoriety fool you.
It might still be considered something of a stretch to call him a legitimate ace, though.
Twice in his career he’s finished with a sub-3.00 ERA, but injuries have slowed him in recent years. He missed all of 2015, and much of 2016 with separate right elbow injuries.
He’s returned to form in 2017, and has likely done enough to earn himself a decent payday. Turf toe has slowed him in the month of August, but not enough to reason for legitimate concern. He’s been one of the key factors keeping Tampa Bay afloat this season.
Cobb has pitched to a 9-8 record this season, managing a 3.80 ERA. He’s an innings eater, and rarely fails to go at least five innings. His numbers are skewed slightly by a few starts where he was left in a little too long.
He would be at the absolute top of the Miami Marlins budget, likely a little beyond it. With commitments elsewhere, the Fish might not be in position to make a serious run at Cobb. If they do, it’ll come at a cost.