Chicago Cubs: Is Drew Smyly recruiting Alex Cobb?
The Chicago Cubs’ have been all over the market for a starting pitcher. But maybe the one that they got for next season can help pay dividends today?
Earlier this winter, the Chicago Cubs signed Drew Smyly to a two-year deal. The lefty is unlikely to pitch in 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July. The Cubs had also hoped to bring in Alex Cobb, especially with former manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey on staff. But early offers were rebuked by Cobb, and the process goes on. But could the guy who didn’t pitch last season have a say?
When Smyly became a Ray, the two seemed to hit it off. Now, expecting a player to sign with your team because he’s friends with a player who signed? Not likely. But with a former teammate, pitching coach and manager? It probably isn’t going to hurt to make his pitch while he can.
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A little bit of recruiting
While talking to MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Smyly was glowing in his praise of Cobb while also tossing in a little bit of a recruiting pitch.
"“I know he’s going through the free-agent process now. Who knows where he’ll land? It’s a pretty crazy game. I can only imagine how he feels — I was a little overwhelmed and I was kind of at the bottom of the barrel in the free-agent market, and he can kind of pick and choose where he wants to go and I’m sure a lot of teams are fighting for him."
The Cubs are still in the hunt for another starting pitcher, and Cobb is among those they are still interested in. But they’re also interested in Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, as well–so it’s hard to pinpoint just where they sit in regards to a target. The Cubs have a lot of poles in
the water, so to speak. Eventually, they’re going to get their man. It’s just hard to predict who that will be.
Focus is on 2019
For Smyly, his goal is to get back to pitching competitively this year. And at the least, be in a good position for next season. In 2016, Smyly was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA. But in his career, he has a 31-27 record with a 3.74 ERA.
It’s possible he could be able to pitch later in 2018, but the Cubs aren’t counting on that. They’ll likely look to next season and have Smyly compete for a spot in the rotation. General manager Jey Hoyer is aware of his potential for the 2019 season.
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"“People won’t talk about it a lot in 2018,” Hoyer said last month. “We’ll know he’ll be there with us and hopefully in 2019, he’ll be a big part of things.”"
As the Cubs look to round out the rotation, Cobb could be a good pickup for the team. Even more so if they get an assist from the inside in Smyly. Just remember, if you like it somewhere make sure to tell your friends.