It’s the rumor that won’t die – and it probably won’t fully die until something actually happens, or until the calendar rolls around to, say, 2018. Maybe not even then.
Then again, I suppose it’s fair for a set of rumors to stay in the headlines if the involved teams stay in contact about the subject of those rumors.
You know the drill: the Tampa Bay Rays have quite a few interesting, controllable starting pitchers who are about to get expensive. The Chicago Cubs have lots of young talent (that isn’t about to get expensive), and a need for longer-term starting pitchers. The Cubs have some money. The Rays don’t. There’s your fit.
And it’s a real fit, as each of the organizations’ front offices have admitted to having trade talks this offseason.
(We’ve before mentioned the Desmond Jennings fit, as a guy who can play quality defense all over, hits right-handed, and stands to make $3.3 million this year (which the Rays would probably be happy to save).)
Nick Cafardo reports that there’s a lot of interest around baseball in Cobb, specifically. The 28-year-old is recovering from Tommy John surgery and may not be much of a contributor until the second half of 2016, if at all this season. Instead, you’ve got to believe that interest in Cobb is coming from teams that (1) want to add a high-upside starter for 2017, and (2) have the funds to carry Cobb’s salary as he recovers. The Cubs are an obvious fit there – almost perfect, actually – but coming to an agreement on Cobb’s value in trade, given his unique circumstances, is proving tricky.
This remains something to keep an eye on – maybe a side eye – as we get into Spring Training. At that point, the chances of a trade of this magnitude become extremely remote, but the sides will presumably keep in contact as midseason approaches.