The Cubs came into the Winter Meetings needing to add at least two arms to the team, and while their signings so far have been solid, the Cubs still want more. Signing Brandon Morrow was has the potential to be an excellent move, along with agreeing to a deal with Drew Smyly, who is recovering from Tommy John and likely won’t return until late 2018 at the earliest.

But the Cubs at addressed a need with the Morrow signing, who currently stands the best chance at becoming the Cubs closer for 2018. However, the Cubs still need to add another starter, and it wouldn’t hurt to find another late-innings guy for the bullpen. Alex Cobb seemed like a done deal weeks ago for the Cubs, but the 30-year-old veteran comes into the final day of the Winter Meetings still without a deal.

Reports have surfaced that teams like the Rangers and Yankees are also interested in Cobb, but the Cubs have always remained the likely favorites to add the ground ball pitcher. However, despite their high interest in Cobb, the Cubs continue to pop up in random conversations involving guys like Danny Duffy or Danny Salazar.

Reports of Cobb’s four-year, $80 mil demands were shot down by Cobb’s team yesterday, which could have something to do with guys like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta still not signing. Which means, despite how much the Cubs would love to walk away from the meetings with another starter under their belt, Cobb could hold out and wait for either of Darvish or Arrieta to set the market.

Lets Make A Deal

Of course, the Cubs would be the team that sets the market and signs Yu Darvish, who’s team they did meet with earlier this week. But what seems more likely is a trade, with a Cubs engaged with a few times, but have the most interest in Rays starter Chris Archer.

The Cubs and Rays were engaged in serious talks yesterday, according to a former scout with ties to both teams scouts, with the Cubs focusing heavily on Archer. The question has, and will remain to be, how much the Cubs want to give up for a starter like Archer. They should be able to strike a deal if they feel it’s right, but so far that hasn’t been the case.

The thought around the league is that the Rays asking price, while likely come down soon, is still to rich for the blood of the Cubs front office. Other options are the aforementioned Duffy and Salazar, with the Indians righty looking like a more promising add, but both come with serious injury risk.

There is also another option involving the Padres, who reportedly are interested in adding a young shortstop, and might consider moving closer Brad Hand in a deal involving one.

The Cubs moving Addison Russell or Javier Baez for just Brad Hand is not going to happened, but the Padres do have some talented young arms. Guys like Anderson Espinoza and Mackenzie Gore are in the Padres farm system, while either are unlikely to move, it could mean the Padres would be open to including starters Cal Quantrill or Chris Paddack.

The point is, while free agency options are somewhat limited, the Cubs are getting creative with how they are finding starters. The consensus seems to be that the Cubs would like to sign a starter, preferable Alex Cobb. But, if Cobb moves on to another team, the Cubs are working out options to make sure they can add the pitching they need to compete in 2018, even if it costs major league talent.