According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox remain in the market for free agent starting pitchers, despite both teams missing out on Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka last week.
Last week, we learned that the Cubs were not going to re-sign right-hander Scott Baker after the right-hander made just three starts for Chicago last year after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery for much of the previous year. That being said, it appears likely that a Baker-esque signing will be the type of move the Cubs make in the remainder of the offseason. Names that have been linked to the team include Jason Hammel and former Cub Paul Maholm.
Bronson Arroyo would be an interesting pick-up for Chicago, although his level of interest in playing for a non-contender heading into his age 37 season would likely be low. Last year with Cincinnati, the right-hander was his usual consistent self, going 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA and hitting the 200-inning mark for the eighth time in the last nine years. In the lone year he failed to hit 200 innings, he threw 199.
For obvious reasons, Tanaka was an ideal target for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, given he would not cost the team any prospects or draft picks in next June’s draft. However, with reports of the team’s offer coming in well-shy of the New York Yankees‘ seven-year, $155 million deal, the team must now look ahead with Spring Training just weeks away.
For those same reasons, it appears highly unlikely that the team attempts to sign Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana, given the fact that both are tied to draft pick compensation due to their respective teams making qualifying offer at the conclusion of last season. While both would be an upgrade over some of the Cubs’ in-house options, I would point to the fact that both have struggled mightily with consistency – something the front office seems quite high on.
As things currently stand, Chicago enters Spring Training with Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood at the helm of the rotation, with Edwin Jackson, Chris Rusin and Jake Arrieta likely filling things out for first-year manager Rick Renteria. However, it would come as no surprise should the team add more pitching depth prior to that point. If they work out (like Paul Maholm did two years ago), the team can either hold onto them or look to swap at the Trade Deadline in hopes of stockpiling more talent.