Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Disappointed Alex Cobb heads to minors as part of Tampa Bay Rays' surplus of pitching

PORT CHARLOTTE — Alex Cobb got a stark reminder of just how much starting pitching depth the Rays have when he was summoned to a meeting room across from manager Joe Maddon's office after batting practice Monday.

Cobb, 24, had pitched extremely well for most of his nine games as a rookie last season, and he recovered fine from August surgery to remove a blood clot and part of his rib.

On other teams he would be a strong contender for a spot in the rotation, if not an incumbent member.

But the Rays have no room on the hill.

Already stocked with six top-notch candidates for five spots, the Rays sent Cobb and their two other most advanced starting prospects, Alex Torres and Chris Archer, to the minors Monday in their first cut of the spring.

"It's frustrating," Cobb said. "I told them basically it stinks to be in this organization at this time. But if I wasn't in this organization I wouldn't be the pitcher I am and I might not have had the opportunity to be the pitcher I am. So it's Catch-22."

Cobb has a bit of an edge to him, so even though he realized pretty early in spring camp he wasn't going to make the team, the demotion didn't sit well, especially since it came sooner than expected.

"It's not a total shock," he said, "but it's not exactly the time you want to be sent down."

But he is also savvy enough to understand the Rays' explanation, which is that they expect him to pitch in at some point this season, so it was better to move him to minor-league camp where he can get the requisite innings in exhibitions and be ready when needed.

"I know I'm going to be part of the (team) this year and I have two ways to go about it," Cobb said. "I could either be p---ed off and sulk about it and feel bad about myself, but all that's going to hurt is myself. So I need to go out, get over it real quick, and go down there and work and get better in minor-league camp."

Maddon acknowledged the "impetuous youth about everything," but said it is definitely the right decision for Cobb, and the others, and they'll eventually see it that way. "It's kind of fruitless and unwise to keep them here not getting the proper work," he said.

Plus, Maddon said they wanted to make the moves now so the players can get over any resentment and adjust to their new reality. The days are longer on the minor-league side of the Charlotte Sports Park complex, the amenities shorter and the expense money significantly less plentiful (about $400 a week compared to $1,200).

"There's going to be a little disappointment," Maddon said. "You'd rather get them back, get them readjusted to the Triple-A lifestyle again because it is different. So we want them to go there with a really clear mind, a very focused mind."

If the Rays do need help, Maddon said he would be confident calling on Cobb. "I have a lot of faith in him," he said. "I feel very comfortable putting his name in the rotation any time. What he did for us last year in July, when we went to the six-man (rotation) was invaluable to us."

Cobb said he felt last year he had done well enough (3-2, 3.42) to be in the majors this season. But that opportunity faded during the winter when the Rays were able to boost their offense without trading any of their starters, as had been expected, and when they signed Matt Moore to a long-term deal, removing any financial incentive to start him in the minors.

And it didn't take long once Cobb got to spring training for him to realize there wasn't going to be a spot for him. "You kind of know in the back of your mind we have seven guys and those numbers don't fit, so you're going to be the odd man out," he said.

Hearing the Rays say they expect him back eventually was somewhat reassuring, Cobb said. For now, with Torres and Archer headed to the same place, he joked that he has a bigger challenge ahead of him:

"I'm just working on making that Durham rotation now."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
On what Odorizzi has to feel good and bad about after trade from Rays to Twins

On what Odorizzi has to feel good and bad about after trade from Rays to Twins

Two things were pretty clear in talking to RHP Jake Odorizzi this morning in Fort Myers about being traded from the Rays to Twins.He couldn't be much happier than to be a new that that has legitimate playoff aspirations, and that he feels for those h...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters, Rays at Twins, with Venters making first spring outing since 2013

For starters, Rays at Twins, with Venters making first spring outing since 2013

As the Rays head back to Fort Myers today for a game on the other side of I-75 to take on the Twins at 1:05, there are several spring debuts worth noting:First, that LHP Jonny Venters, trying to make it back to the majors for the first time since 201...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Ex-Rays prospect Andrew Toles working his way back from knee surgery for Dodgers

Ex-Rays prospect Andrew Toles working his way back from knee surgery for Dodgers

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Andrew Toles made a two-base error and went 0-for-3, and his team lost. All told, it was still a pretty good day for the Dodgers left fielder.In his first game since a serious knee injury last May, the former Rays prospect ret...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Inside the Rays’ plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

Inside the Rays’ plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays know tanking."We tanked in 2006 and '07, if you want to call it that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We were the original tankers. Or tankees. It seems to be all the fad now."In losing 101 and 96 games in the...
Published: 02/24/18
Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

FORT MYERS – Just playing on back-to-back days was significant for Rays 3B Matt Duffy.Playing well has made the start of spring training even better."Really liked the way Duffy has continued to play," manager Kevin Cash said after a 4-3 loss to...
Published: 02/24/18
That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Rays’ plan

That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Rays’ plan

Jonathan ErlichmanFor a moment Friday, it looked as if a young businessman, accountant or computer guy had won one of those charity auctions to spend a game in uniform in the Rays dugout.Actually, it was Rays analytics director Jonathan Erlichman, a ...
Published: 02/24/18
For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

UPDATE, 11:36: Manager Kevin Cash said the plan is to play Duffy on back to back days a couple times early in spring, believing the short bursts of activity will best help him build up after missing all of 2017. … Matt Andriese will come out of...
Published: 02/24/18
The truth about the Tampa Bay Rays’ reset

The truth about the Tampa Bay Rays’ reset

The Tampa Bay Rays are not going to be very good this year.We already knew that.They have gutted a team that won 80 games last season. Among those sent packing: Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi and team MVP Steven Souza Jr.Yeah, this thi...
Published: 02/24/18
Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays Saturday scheduleAt Red Sox1:05, JetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort MyersPitchers: Rays – RH Jake Faria, RH Matt Andriese, RH Dustin McGowan, LH Ryan Yarbrough, RF Chaz Roe, LH Jose Alvarado, RH Evan Scribner, RH Jose Mujica; Red...
Published: 02/24/18
Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – Two things that tell you a lot about Rays cocksure top prospect Brent Honeywell given Friday's crushing news that he indeed tore a ligament in his prized right arm and is headed for Tommy John surgery that will sideline him wel...
Published: 02/23/18