The Chicago Cubs met at the GM meetings on Jake Arrieta, and while they are interested, there’s still said to be a gap on the years – he wants long (six or seven years), they want shorter — and the sides aren’t believed to have spoken since the meetings.

While Arrieta hasn’t been seen as likely to return to the Cubs, considering the obvious needs of the team, it can’t be ruled out. They also have interest in Alex Cobb – there are strong ties there with both manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey having been in Tampa, and them having a close relationship with the pitcher – and presumably all the other decent available starters, including also Yu Darvish and Lance Lynn.

The Cubs, who may need two starters since John Lackey is a free agent in addition to Arrieta, have succeeded wildly in the Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer years, but if there’s one area where they’ve been a bit hit-or-miss in their careers, it’s free agency (they are far from alone there), which has led to some gallows humor.

One Cubs person was overheard to say on their way to a meeting on a pitcher, “Time to overspend on a pitcher.”

In any case, they don’t love to go long for a pitcher (they made an exception for Jon Lester, and hit a home run on that one with a $165 million, six-year deal), so perhaps Darvish is in the same category with Arrieta.