The Cubs have a few pressing issues before they can truly contend again. The bullpen, a change up to the core, and most importantly figuring the Chicago Cubs rotation has an issue. With the loss of Cole Hamels in free agency, it leaves a hole in the back end of the rotation. The main concern this offseason should be replacing and improving his 7-win, 143 strikeout, 3.81 ERA 2019 campaign. Realistically the Cubs will not be getting a front of the rotation caliber pitcher such as Madison Bumgarner or Hyun-Jin Ryu. As of now the rotation is comsprised of Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish.
The Cubs could look from within to round out the rotation. There aren’t many options on this side, but it could fall back on Tyler Chatwood. His two seasons as a Cub haven’t necessarily been memorable. He holds a 9-9 record in 180.1 innings pitched, and holds an ERA of 4.64. He’s good to start now and then, but he is not someone that should be given a full time role as a starter.
Alec Mills is another option for the Cubs. He started 4 games for the Cubs last season and 2 the season prior. Mills holds a record of 1-1 in his young career and an ERA of 3.77 in 57.1 innings pitched. His numbers aren’t appealing and there are more viable options on the open market.
There are a few decent options for the backend of the rotation on the open market. Julio Teheran could be a decent option to round out a rotation. His numbers aren’t outstanding with a record of 77-73 with a 3.67 ERA throughout his career with the Braves. However, the two-time all-star has shown he can pitch at any part of the rotation. He has also never started less than 30 games since becoming a full-time big leaguer, which is hard to find nowadays. He would likely be a low cost option for the budget conscious Cubs.
Another direction to go would be Dallas Keuchel. Unfortunately, this comes with a price tag. That being said, he would be a great option to take over the last spot in the rotation or even to upgrade the rotation as a whole. The former AL Cy Young winner has pitched over 200 innings 3 times in his career and although I don’t expect to see that again, he has a record of 84-71 with an ERA of 3.67. He’s had a rough couple seasons as of a late, but will have less pressure at the end of the rotation.
A couple other options that we won’t dig too deep into are Chase Anderson, Aaron Sanchez, Shelby Miller, Marco Estrada, and Felix Hernandez. Hernadez might be a reach but he’s shown he can be a force and maybe a change of scenery will ignite a spark in him.
Obviously, the final place the Cubs could find help is via trade. The Cubs don’t have the greatest prospect pool to work with anymore and Cubs fans may get a little nervous when it comes to trading as of late. That is fair because the Cubs have traded Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres and Jorge Soler, but it’s worth looking at a couple arms. The club could look to move Kyle Schwarber or someone from their crowded outfield.
One name that will likely be floated is Ian Kennedy. He has career record of 97-103 with an ERA of 4.09 but he plays on the Royals so you can’t ask too much of you pitcher there. Interestingly, the Royals used Kennedy out of the bullpen exclusively, so it would likely be a bigger risk.
An Old Friend
Why not rekindle an old fire and try Jeff Samardzija out again? He may hold a hefty contract price at just under $20 million for next season but he should come cheap. He had a decent season with the Giants last season, posting a 3.52 ERA. If the Cubs need someone to give you decent innings, he could be a decent option.
On another note the Cubs could be involved in a block buster centered around Kris Bryant. With his free agency looming, the rumor mill seems to be convinced he’s on his way out. There haven’t been any rumors, but targeting Noah Syndergaard could make sense in a blockbuster deal. Like Ian Kennedy, Syndergaard is a name you hear in the rumor mill often. This trade makes sense at a basic level. The Cubs get much needed help in the pitching department and the Mets get a big bat they so desperately need and can slot him in at third.The Cubs would likely need to include prospects and Bryant would need to be willing to sign long term in New York but it’s worth a look.
Author Twitter: @cdemp45
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