The idea that the Chicago Cubs will have money to spend this off-season has circulated around the baseball industry. Some have seemed to suggest that because of their available resources, the Cubs will be big players in the free agent market this winter.
That would seem to go against the statements that have been made by Cubs’ President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer during this season. The target year for contention that the Cubs’ front office may have highlighted is 2014, if not 2015. Having said that, the Cubs still need to fill several spots for the 2013 roster. The Cubs will use their available resources to fill those spots this winter.
While the Cubs will not invest all of their resources into one player, it would appear that the majority amount of money that the Cubs will spend this off-season will be spent on one area. That area, of course, is the starting pitching position. With only Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza the only know pitchers to be penciled into the Cubs 2013 starting rotation, the Cubs will be in the market for a starting pitcher or two this winter.
“We certainly have to be aggressive with starting pitching over the winter,” Hoyer said. “I think that hardly makes us unique among major league teams. We will certainly have competition to find starting pitching but we certainly will need to bolster our rotation.” ESPN Chicago
The Cubs traded Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm this season, and the team intends to replace their rotation spots with a couple of veteran starting pitchers this winter. In fact, the Cubs plan for any starting pitcher they sign this winter may be similar to the strategy they implemented with Dempster and Maholm this season. That strategy being building up the starting pitcher’s trade value during the first half of the season while looking to trade the starting pitcher during the second half of the season for a package of talented prospects.
There are several free agent starting pitchers that figure to interest the Cubs this winter. Francisco Liriano, Joe Saunders, and Edwin Jackson are three pitchers that the Cubs may pursue in the off-season. However, there is one pitcher that the Cubs may look into this winter. That pitcher is Jake Peavy. Like any Cubs fans, I too, was sick of hearing about the endless Peavy to the Cubs trade rumors that were associated with the Cubs’ off-season in past winters. However, the Chicago White Sox are not going to pick up Peavy’s team option, meaning the starting pitcher will be a free agent. The 31 year old Peavy has been healthy throughout the entirety of the 2012 season and has posted a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts this season. Peavy, at one point, was very interested in joining the Cubs. If forced to choose between the Cubs or the White Sox, Peavy would likely choose the White Sox as he has enjoyed the past three seasons on the South Side. However, the White Sox may not be able to offer Peavy the type of money that he is looking for. The Cubs would be able to do so, and would also provide the opportunity for Peavy to remain in Chicago.
The key to any successful team is starting pitching, and the Cubs figure to improve the quality of their starting pitching greatly this winter.