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Alex Cobb isn’t worth $20 million a year. How much would you pay him?

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The Cubs could use the free-agent righthander, but not at his reported asking price.

Tampa Bay Rays v Chicago Cubs
Alex Cobb in the Rays’ “faux-back” uniform at Wrigley Field, August 10, 2014
Getty Images

From the beginning of this offseason’s free agency, it seemed like one of the biggest no-brainer signings would be the Cubs matching up with Alex Cobb, late of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cobb fit the Cubs’ profile and need. He had pitched four seasons for Joe Maddon while Maddon was Rays manager. And Cobb sang the praises of new Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey after the Rays let him go:

"I'm not going to try to explain how great Jim Hickey is. There's really nothing I can say that would speak louder than his track record. All I can say is how fortunate I was to have him when I got to the big leagues. No one could have prepared me better. He has a talent that most organizations search for relentlessly. He will have a great time being a free agent.''

And then Hickey was hired by the Cubs. It seemed the proverbial “match made in heaven.”

So why isn’t Cobb a Cub? This is apparently why:

But sources say Cobb’s asking price, thought to be about $20 million per year, has lowered the temperature on the Cubs’ desire for a pitcher with an injury history and a career high of 179 1/3 innings.

Oh, no. No, no, no, no. Alex Cobb? You are a pretty good major-league pitcher. But you are not a $20 million a year pitcher. Cobb’s 2017 season was roughly equivalent to the 2016 season Cubs recent signee Tyler Chatwood had. (Remember, I said roughly.) That would put Cobb’s value at maybe a bit higher than Chatwood’s AAV, which is approximately $13 million.

Thus I’d be perfectly happy to see the Cubs give Cobb a three-year, $45-48 million contract. Or a four-year, $60-64 million contract. He’s still a very good fit for a Cubs team that needs another starter, and a contract of that size would allow for further offseason acquisitions. Incidentally, in that one Wrigley appearance three years ago, Cobb threw quite well, allowing six hits and one run in six innings. The Cubs won the game in extras off the Rays bullpen.

Here’s some video of Cobb from that 2014 game.

But $20 million per year? No way, Alex. Try again. I don’t see other teams rushing to meet that asking price, either.

So, I pose the question to you. What’s Alex Cobb worth on an annual basis? And how many years would you give him?

Poll

Alex Cobb is worth, on an annual basis...

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Under $13 million
    (187 votes)
  • 12%
    $13 million
    (191 votes)
  • 25%
    $14 million
    (381 votes)
  • 36%
    $15 million
    (547 votes)
  • 8%
    $16 million
    (135 votes)
  • 2%
    $17 million
    (36 votes)
  • 1%
    $18 million or more
    (27 votes)
1504 votes total Vote Now