It is no secret what position the Chicago Cubs are looking to target this season. If you have lived under a cave for the past two months, and do not know the position, look no further than the fact that the Cubs currently have only two starting pitchers in their starting rotation for the 2013 season. Those two starting pitchers would be Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. Travis Wood pitched relatively well during the 2012 season, even if forced to contend for a spot during Spring Training, it seems likely that Wood will be a part of the Cubs’ starting rotation to begin the 2013 season.
That would leave two openings in the starting rotation. In 2012, those spots were filled by Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Justin Germano, Chris Volstad, Brooks Raley, and Chris Rusin. Dempster and Maholm were traded during the month of July, Volstad seemingly has pitched himself out of the Cubs’ plans for the future, Germano was no more than temporary stop-gap, and Rusin and Raley likely need more development with the Iowa Cubs before becoming mainstays in the Cubs’ starting rotation. On paper, it would seem to suggest that the Cubs will need to add at least two starting pitchers this winter. The consensus all along has been that the Cubs will target starting pitching this winter, and Cubs’ President Theo Epstein did not rule out the idea that the Cubs’ could sign two free agent starting pitchers this winter.
‘There are going to be a lot of teams looking at a pretty limited field,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘I don’t think there’s going to be great value to be had out there. But I think there’s some quality, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us sign a free agent or two for our rotation.’’ Chicago Sun Times
Knowing that the Cubs were in need of starting pitching and that the team has a significant amount of money that could be spent this winter, I threw out Jake Peavy‘s name on a regular basis. Peavy pitched a successful season for the Chicago White Sox in 2012 as the starting pitcher posted a record of 11 and 12 to go along with an ERA of 3.37. Peavy will likely hit the free agent market as the White Sox declined to pick up his $21 million player option. White Sox general manager Kenny Williams indicated that the team would like to have Peavy back for the 2013 season, but it would depend on his asking price. This is where I figured the Cubs would be able to sneak in and sign Peavy. But according to Gordon Wittenmyer, the Cubs will not be in pursuit of Peavy. Neither will the Cubs pursue Zack Greinke, though, that seemed rather obvious.
Instead, Witttenmyer suggests that the Cubs may pursue starting pitchers Shaun Marcum, Anibal Sanchez, and/or Edwin Jackson. Jackson is the traditional journeyman of Major League Baseball as the starting pitcher has had tours with several teams from both the National League and American League circuits. Jackson’s latest stop was with the Washington Nationals this season where the starting pitcher posted a record of 10 and 11 to go along with an ERA of 4.03. Sanchez was traded to the Detroit Tigers during the season from the Miami Marlins and was once a talented pitching prospect for the Marlins. Sanchez has posted a record of 9 and 13 this season to go along with an ERA of 3.86. Marcum could be the Cubs’ top target. Marcum, who is familiar with both Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio, posted a record of 7 and 4 this season to go along with an ERA of 3.70. Marcum was plagued with injuries during the 2012 season, so he could come at a reduced rate. Nonetheless, these three starting pitchers in addition to Francisco Liriano figure to be towards the top of the Cubs’ wish list.