We actually had Hot Stove news today – but it turns out a few baseball insiders got too antsy. It happens, but what are you going to do?
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 10, 2018
Apparently, there were talks, and you can split hairs in arguing if the deal ever got close or not.
In any event, the Gerrit Cole trade… err… non-trade, caused some new information to be uncovered from the free agent pool. I mean, I have always said, “nothing like a fake trade to kickstart the hot stove!”
Today, and I bet it has something to do with all the Cubs coming into Chicago for the Cubs Convention, Gordo had some interesting news. Apparently, the new Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey helped the team “wine and dine” free agent pitcher Alex Cobb. He also added this interesting quote.
“I would expect like they’re doing right now, kicking the tires on Alex Cobb and Yu Darvish,” he said of the Cubs’ top free agent pursuits.“That’s pretty attractive to me also, and also pretty foreign to me. I haven’t had the pleasure of pursuing high-end free agents personally.
“But if we had to go to war right now with what we had, I’d certainly take my chances,” said Hickey, 56, who spent the past 11 seasons with the penny-pinching Rays. “If there’s another piece that’s added, that’d be great. If not, I’m very comfortable trying to win the division with what we have.”
Additionally, Madeline Kenney wrote an interesting piece of her own (you can scroll down on Gordon’s story to find it). In her story she quoted Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, saying something VERY revealing.
Maddon seemed optimistic at the Cubs’ chance to land him.
I love Alex Cobb. When you [media] get to really work with him, if that happens, you’ll love him too,” he said. “This is a man’s man, and he’s very highly accountable and he’s really good.”
Joe is usually very careful with his words, and for him to say, “when you get to work with him…” That is curious, extremely curious. He did talk about Jake Arrieta, and of course, he continued to support the company line for a reunion is welcome and possible.
“Jake knows how I feel about him personally. We all do. We would not have had this wonderful run without him,” Maddon said Wednesday evening at his “Thanksmas” charity event in Chicago where the Cubs skipper cooked and served dinner to homeless people. “I just wish for what’s best for him and his family quite frankly. … [I’d] love to have him back, but any team would. That’s not for me to say.”
Not to be outdone, Wittenmyer added this nugget about Jake and his potential suitors.
And he may still have a chance to retain Arrieta for his staff – though a long shot. A source close to Arrieta said the right-hander has offers from six teams – including the Cubs – for three- and four-year contracts at “overpay” annual values.
The Brewers and Cardinals also are among those teams.
The source suggested one team might be close to making a five-year offer but wasn’t sure which team.
The Yu Darvish front has had some information unfold as well. While it has been assumed that Yu liked what the Cubs front office has presented, there was some news from Jeff Wilson from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Darvish remains a free agent, along with so many others who were expected to fly off the board. Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, J.D. Martinez, Jonathan Lucroy, Eric Hosmer, Cain, etc., etc.
And, according to a baseball source, the Rangers are one of five teams that Darvish is considering, along with the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins. The Astros might be out; they reportedly are pursuing right-hander Gerrit Cole.
How do we unpack all of this? Does any of it mean… anything?
To explain some of this, I will start with the end in mind. I personally think (based on what I have watched, read, listened to, and read between) the only pitcher the Cubs are all-in on this offseason is Alex Cobb. He is the only pitcher that we know for certain was offered a contract (outside of anyone they’ve previously signed of course).
If you will entertain this, let’s play the offseason backward for a bit.
As soon as it was legal for a potential free agent to talk to another team, Alex and the Cubs were having conversations. This has been talked about and proven to of happened many times over. Cobb has had nothing but great things to say about the Cubs, Joe Maddon, and Jim Hickey – even mentioning that he would be honored to play for the Cubs (paraphrasing).
From there we heard stories about how much the Cubs liked Cobb and how much Cobb liked the Cubs. It got to the point that it was like a bad episode of Dawson’s Creek and everyone knew Dawson and Joey liked each other. The courtship resulted in an offer of three-years and $42 million, an offer the Alex appeared to of liked and would have been willing to accept. That is when things went south…
Cobb’s agent recommended that Alex turn down the Cubs offer. With Tyler Chatwood receiving a three-year $38 million deal and Wade Davis receiving a three-year $52 million deal – this was the correct council. Chatwood, while promising, isn’t as established as Cobb. Davis, who is one of the best closers in the league, only pitches an inning at a time with real signs of decline. Alex is a 30-year old pitcher who has shown a lot of promise, with only 700 innings on his arm.
Jake the Snake
I do not believe the Cubs have formally offered Jake a contract. I think they may have exchanged ideas on potential numbers, but I would be very surprised that they have actually submitted a formal bid. I’m not entirely convinced that Jake has received real offers from “up to six teams” like Gordon says either. I don’t think that Wittenmyer is purposely reporting false information, I just think someone has given him false information. We saw one of the best in the business, Jon Morosi, get dupped, I’m certain it can happen with Gordo.
Just a couple weeks ago there were rumors that the Cubs would bring Jake back on a four-year $110 million contract. This was sort of shocking as this was the first time a dollar amount was really reported from the Cubs. The thing with this report was, there wasn’t word on an official offer just what the Cubs would feel good offering. Sure this is splitting hairs, but there is a definite difference between an offer and what the Cubs would accept as terms.
I don’t know if he is the best pitcher out of this trio, but right now he is winning Twitter. In the article (here, it is the previously mentioned article) from Jeff Wilson, he points out the five teams Yu Darvish has narrowed his list down to. Taking that info, Max Wildstein tweeted this out… and Yu responded.
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) January 10, 2018
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) January 11, 2018
Yu didn’t just troll Max, he also added something that set the baseball insiders all ablaze.
I know one more team is in. https://t.co/exxubGP7Qo
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) January 11, 2018
Does Yu have a flair for the dramatic or what!? Darvish has offered a couple of tweets, the first to a Barstool brah that tweeted out incorrect info that the Cubs had signed him to a deal.
Here is the thing with Yu Darvish, over the past couple of weeks there have been quiet parties that have mentioned the Cubs haven’t sent him an official offer either. I tend to believe Jeff Wilson, being a local Texas reporter, but I just don’t know if the Cubs are all-in on Yu. It makes more sense to me that the Cubs public interest in Darvish and their public terms for Arrieta are all a sideshow to gain more leverage in the Alex Cobb conversations.
Cobb’s agent believed that he would be able to get $17-$19 million a season for Cobb. With Jake and Yu expected to earn an AAV of around $25 million per season, Cobb’s camp thought Alex would be a steal at that price point. I also believe the Cubs are staying in the conversations for Darvish and Arrieta to help drive up the costs of those two for rival teams, like the Cardinals or Brewers and even the Dodgers.
What do I see happening
Ok, I believe that Yu Darvish will be the first to sign a deal. It seems like he has the most traction, and apparently narrowed down the search. I think he signs first, and it just might be with the Twins. I also think the “other team” Yu is speaking of is the Cardinals.
Next will be Cobb. I think once Darvish sets the market, which might end up being an overvalued, shorter deal, Cobb will do something similar. I’m thinking a three-year $50 million range deal. I am almost certain he will be a Cub.
Lastly I think Jake will sign, and his value might end up being hurt a bit. He very well could stretch out for a couple more weeks, but I see one of the remaining Yu Darvish teams coming through for Jake. The teams that jump off the page a bit for me is both the Rangers and the Astros. The wild card for Jake is the Cardinals.