Chicago Cubs: Team in the market for ‘several’ starters
Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told reporters recently that the team is in the market for multiple starting pitchers this offseason, confirming the most recent rumors.
With the GM Meetings rapidly approaching, the oft-overlooked Hoyer made the case for his ball club adding multiple arms this offseason, something that was widely-speculated, but still unconfirmed by top brass.
According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs will not only look to improve a the big-league level in terms of pitching, but in the minors, as well.
"“We want to add at least one [major leaguer] but we do need to impact our starting pitching depth,” Hoyer said. “We will look to add multiple starting pitchers at various levels of the organization. That’s the best way to say it.”"
Last season, the Chicago Cubs’ pitching staff posted the third-best earned run average in baseball (3.36), trailing only the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. The starting rotation, headlined by Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, suffered from back-end depth, something Hoyer hopes will be different in 2016.
Arrieta himself is a hot-button topic when talking Cubs’ hot stove news right now, with two full seasons until he hits the open market. That being said, the team hopes to sign him to a long-term extension, but the likelihood of that is shaky, at best, given he’s represented by Scott Boras.
Lester, meanwhile, was better than most Cubs fans may believe. He received horrendous run support, keeping Chicago in virtually every start he made, always giving the team a chance to win.
The most recent rumblings have the Chicago Cubs tapped as a “heavy favorite” to land free agent left-hander David Price, who will either finish first or second in the AL Cy Young voting, barring disaster – but he’ll come at a steep cost, probably north of Max Scherzer‘s $210 deal from last winter.
Any rotation that includes Arrieta, Lester and Price would no-doubt be formidable, but while Hoyer said the team “has the means” to fill its voids on the roster, it’s not going to be a hog-wild cash party for Tom Ricketts’ club.
"“There has to be a level of common sense when thinking about what we’re going to do. We’ve been linked to everyone already.”"
Now, while the team is expected to hoard their stockpile of young prospects, including Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler, Hoyer cautioned that if the right opportunity arose, the Cubs could look to make a deal to add the needed pitching, as well.
While Schwarber and Bryant have to be considered damn-near untouchable, the likes of Soler, Javier Baez, Starlin Castro can’t be ruled out. It would take a lot, especially to deal Soler, who’s inked to a team-friendly deal, the same as Castro, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
"“You never say never,” Hoyer stated. “If something makes sense to trade some surplus for pitching depth, it’s something we have to explore.”"
Whether through trade or via free agency, the Chicago Cubs will be busy this winter. This year’s starting rotation will look vastly different than the one that Joe Maddon pencils in as the team leaves the Cactus League next spring.
And while this year’s club was successful, such changes are a very good thing.