Chicago Cubs fail to make noise at this year’s Cubs Convention

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Jake Arrieta
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Jake Arrieta /

 This year, Chicago Cubs fans attending the team’s annual winter fan fest expected a surprise – but got nothing – from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

Since the offseason began, baseball fans have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the dam to break on free agency. The biggest contract signed so far went to Carlos Santana. The Philadelphia Phillies paid out a three-year $60 million deal to the former Indians slugger. The Chicago Cubs are no different, as their biggest contract went for three years, worth $38 million to Tyler Chatwood.

After the calendar turned to 2018, fans eyed last weekend with anticipation. Cubs Convention would make the perfect setting to announce a big-time deal. Yu Darvish? What about a Jake Arrieta reunion?

Nope. Nothing.

Nothing appeared imminent, by any means. However, the Cubs have been linked to Darvish ever since the meeting back in December. Alex Cobb has been mentioned since before this winter due to the Joe Maddon connection. Lastly, Arrieta has been linked to the Cubs for obvious reasons. All three remain unsigned, and they are fair game. How awesome would it have been if Pat Hughes concluded player introductions Friday night with a shocking announcement?

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CubsCon is a huge event, so was there a better time to announce a surprise signing? There are pros and cons to all three guys.

Get out your yellow legal pad

Arrieta, 32, had a declining velocity in 2017 and the control issues still pop up from time-to-time. Darvish is also on the wrong side of 30. He was tipping his pitches in the World Series, but was really good in the playoffs otherwise. Cobb is still coming back from Tommy John surgery, and probably has the lowest ceiling of any of the three pitchers.

The Cubs’ rotation currently consists of Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Chatwood and Mike Montgomery. They can afford to add another starter. Montgomery is a decent starter, but his value is more of a swing man, as has shown in the past. After all, Montgomery recorded the final out of the 2016 World Series in relief and people forget that.

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The more time that passes toward Spring Training and Opening Day, the chances of signing Darvish dwindle a little bit, and the chances of re-signing Arrieta increase a little bit. Cobb reportedly, and correctly, turned down three years and $42 million from the Cubs earlier in the winter.

One thing is for sure, the Cubs will get somebody, at this point, it’s just a matter of who.