There is a lot in inertia happening at the Winter Meetings right now, though I'm sure the foundation for future deals are being laid as I write this. But a couple things are a given: the Cubs need starting pitching, and the sky is blue.
While I can't do anything about the color of the sky, I can offer a suggestion that would help fill at least one of the two openings in the Cubs rotation: sign Alex Cobb.
Meanwhile, any thoughts that the Cubs won't try to win next year is a bunch of horse hockey, according to Theo Epstein, “Should fans expect us to win the division next year?” Epstein said. “Absolutely. Absolutely, they should expect that.”
However, if Epstein thinks the Cubs are sure-fire contenders by only getting a pitcher like Cobb and nobody else for the rotation, then I think that plan is short-sighted. For most of two years, Jake Arrieta was an elite starter, though he was not that in 2017.
With injuries so prevalent, depth becomes necessary. Plus, I don't like Montgomery as a regular starter; I prefer him as a reliever and spot starter. With that in mind, Cubs need two good pitchers. Cobb would be one of them at least.
And why not? With Cobb, all it costs is money. And, there is apparently mutual interest, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times. That makes sense, especially since he played for Joe Maddon at Tampa Bay and has been coached by his entire career.
But to get another starter, it will likely take a trade. And with the dearth of upper level prospects in the organization, Theo knows he would have to give up one of the so-called core. Guys like Schwarber, Russell, Happ, Almora and Baez are in play.
Look, Cobb really fills a critical home, because once they sign him, perhaps they could simply bring back John Lackey on a one year contract, and there's your 2018 1-5 rotation. Don't laugh—Lackey was actually pretty good during the second half of the season.
Cobb is thought to be a good fit in the clubhouse too, according to the article. That stuff truly is important to Theo and company. Plus, Cobb has already had the inevitable TJ surgery that practically all starters go through at some point in their careers, 30 months ago.
In his first full season back from TJ, Cobb was 12-10 (remember, wins and losses are NOT a valid way to judge pitchers), with a 3.66 ERA. If signed, he would be the Cubs fourth starter, following Lester, Hendricks and Quintana.
If Cobb's corn grows on another team's stalk instead, perhaps the Cubs could make a play for Cardinals starter Lance Lynn. They seem like similar pitchers, and hey, the Cubs and Cards routinely swap players anyway, right? So it makes some sense.
But make no mistake, Cobb is their top target and I predict he will sign with Chicago, leaving behind the question of whether or not Theo still feels the need to go out and add another starter or not. We know he needs a closer, and while the Orioles Zach Britton has been tossed around, I don't see it. Likewise, I don't see Davis coming back either.
Cobb is the 39th best pitcher in MLB, per WAR. If you take 30 teams and multiply by five, that's 39 out of 150 pitchers, which means he is better than more than 70% of pitchers. And that's pretty darn good.
More pitching is simply a must if the Cubs are going to contend again in 2018, and if you listen to the man, he says we should expect that. And I believe him. You should too. The bar's been raised, so let's make a toast to the guys on the mound: may they give up fewer homers, walk less people, and throw more innings in 2018.
I know that's a little corny, but what can you expect from an article about a Cobb?
Follow me on Twitter @BobWarja