Cubs Must Act Quickly to Corner Cobb

First things first, can we talk about how Bruce Levine (or his editors) are throwing shade at David Kaplan with a title that reads, “Alex Cobb Still The Big Fish Cubs Hope To Reel In?” I’m not saying it’s a Moby Dick move or anything, just seems like way more than a coincidence in the wake of Kap’s story about how Shohei Ohtani is Theo Epstein’s white whale.

Regardless of how we prefer to anthropomorphize large sea creatures, the Cubs are dealing with different timelines on each pitcher and neither necessarily impacts the other. Ohtani’s about to embark on a whirlwind courtship reminiscent of The Bachelor, as he’ll have only three weeks to choose a team once he’s posted. Cobb, on the other hand, may need to receive a proposal much sooner.

With a little over a week to go before the Winter Meetings, the Cubs are one of several suitors — we’re aware of at least the Brewers, Orioles, Rangers, and Twins — for the former Rays’ services. Their employment of his former manager and pitching coach certainly weigh heavily in their favor and Cobb has spoken glowingly of both men, Jim Hickey in particular.

“I can’t say enough good things about [Hickey],” Cobb said recently. “He’s become not only a pitching coach, but a real close friend of mine. Obviously, if we move down the line and we’re able to have some discussions with them, I’d be very honored to be able to talk with them and hopefully come to a deal.”

Despite the obvious mutual attraction, it would be unwise for the Cubs to allow Cobb to remain unsigned by December 10, when MLB’s power players converge on Orlando to make deals. The veteran righty might be willing to offer something of a friendly discount and has said that he values winning and comfort, but that doesn’t mean he’s just going to twiddle his thumbs and wait on the Cubs.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the Cubs have already offered Cobb, among other available pitchers. We recently reviewed Levine’s report that they had “a few offers on the table” to a mix of starters and relievers, one of whom is almost surely Cobb. Now they need to convince him to elope, or whatever less clunky relationship metaphor you’d prefer to use.

Signing Cobb won’t set the market, not even close, but it’ll set the tone for the Cubs’ offseason and will set in motion the rest of what is sure to be a flurry of moves for them this winter.

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