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Report: Cubs will make big push for Alex Cobb

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The Cubs are looking for help on all fronts this winter, particularly when it comes to their pitching staff. Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports that the team is seriously pursuing free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, and while it’s not the first time the two have been linked in offseason rumors, Levine speculates that a deal could happen prior to the Winter Meetings on Monday.

Cobb, 30, rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays last month. He made a successful comeback in his first full season post-Tommy John surgery and is reportedly seeking a four-year deal, which has the potential to keep the Cubs’ core rotation intact for the next 2-3 years. Granted, the righty’s recent history of elbow injuries doesn’t exactly make him a sure thing for any rotation, and the Cubs still appear to be up against several other suitors, including the Yankees. Should they manage to ink him to a contract prior to Monday’s free agent frenzy in Orlando (giving up their second-highest draft pick and $500,000 in international bonus pool money to do so), Levine notes that it could give them some added leverage as they try to secure more pitching depth over the coming week.

Of course, the Cubs’ offseason wish list extends beyond the rotation, especially in the absence of closer Wade Davis. Levine lists free agent right-handers Addison Reed and Brandon Morrow as possible bullpen targets, even as Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets might try to re-sign Reed in 2018. Morrow, meanwhile, has already drawn interest from the Giants and Dodgers, though he’s expected to command a shorter, cheaper contract than Reed this offseason.

Anthony Rizzo to wear walking boot for five to seven days

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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo suffered what appeared to be an awful injury during Sunday’s game against the Pirates, twisting his ankle while attempting to field a bunt. An MRI revealed that he has a lateral sprain of his right ankle, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Rizzo will wear a walking boot for five to seven days before being reevaluated.

Given that there are only two weeks left in the regular season, it seems doubtful Rizzo would be able to return to aid the Cubs’ NL Wild Card chase. The club entered Monday leading the second Wild Card by a game over the Brewers.

Rizzo, 30, is batting .289/.404/.516 with 26 home runs, 93 RBI, and 88 runs scored in 592 plate appearances on the year. Victor Caratini started at first base for Monday’s game against the Reds. The Cubs may also use Ian Happ, Willson Contreras, and Jonathan Lucroy at first base while Rizzo is out.