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.Cafardo says that the Rays are likely to hold onto all of their starting pitchers for now, though.
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.