Though his Cubs bullets contained little we haven’t already either theorized or concluded definitively, Jon Heyman gave us an interesting note in his recent Inside Baseball column. And no, I don’t mean his reference to Jack [sic] Arrieta. It was actually the bit about how Beverly Hills Sports Council is approaching Alex Cobb’s free agency.
BHSC also represents Mariners starter Mike Leake, who scored a surprisingly rich five-year, $80 million contract from St. Louis two years ago. Heyman posits that the agency is using that deal as a template, though I’m running into some trouble with the math and the overall logistics of the anaolgy. The most obvious issue is that Leake’s $16 million AAV is 20 percent lower than what Cobb is reportedly looking for.
That alone is enough for me to want to throw the comp out the window, though I suppose it could mean there’s some negotiating room in Cobb’s ask. There’s a disparity in the talent levels of the pitchers in question, but Cobb is two years older than Leake was when he got that aforementioned deal and Tommy John surgery introduces a little more risk into the equation.
Then you factor in strict adherence to the competitive balance tax limit that has led to a three-year, $38 million pact between Tyler Chatwood and the Cubs standing as the largest for a pitcher this offseason. I know, right? Cobb seems to be caught in a weird purgatory where he’s not one of the top two pitchers on the market but is asking for way more than the rest of the mid-market guys.
Also working against Cobb is the timing of this whole thing. The current stagnation has been caused by and/or has resulted in more controlled players being placed on block, which has further muddied the waters and hurt Cobb’s market.
The whole point here is that there’s still a chance for the Cubs to be in on Cobb, not to mention other free agents. For as deep into the pursuit of Yu Darvish as they appear to be, nothing’s done until the ink is dry on a deal. Even if rumors Leake out.