Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: What is the offseason outlook?

Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) lifts the Commissioner
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) lifts the Commissioner /

The Chicago Cubs are finally the World Champions after 108 years.  This team is built to win next year, too, but there are some moves that need to be made to make this happen.

The core of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Addison Russell are still very young, and under team control for years to come. The issue the Cubs are going to run into is that their biggest strength, the starting pitching, has some impending free agents. Jason Hammel is already a free agent after the Cubs declined his option.  John Lackey and Jake Arrieta will be free agents after next season, as well.  The Cubs may also be searching for a closer this offseason.

The Cubs really lack that hot-shot starting pitching prospect. But that’s why they loaded up on pitching in this past draft.  There is potential in the farm system, with guys like Jake Stinnett, Thomas Hatch, Oscar De La Cruz, Dylan Cease, Carson Sands, and a few others.

The Cubs also acquired Mike Montgomery around the trade deadline, and he can start, but makes perfect sense as a swingman out of the bullpen.  There is also Rob Zastryzny, who performed well in a small sample of Major League innings this season. Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs workhorse during the playoffs, is also a free agent, and it’s looking less and less likely that they will bring him back, and there are a few ways to replace them.

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Trade Jorge Soler for young, controllable pitching

It’s hard to tell what Jorge Soler‘s value is at this point in his career.  He has yet to play a full season’s worth of games due to injury. He struggles to hit breaking balls, and his defensive skill in the outfield are suspect at best.  Believe it or not, he could use a change of scenery.  In the past, however, there have been talks in the past about sending Soler to Tampa Bay in exchange for one of the Rays’ young starters.  Expect those talks to be re-visited this offseason, with possibly a few other teams involved.

Sign one of the big closers

Along with Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon are also free agents.  It just so happens that these three have been the best closers in the game for a few years now. Melancon for the Pirates and Nationals, and Jansen for the Dodgers.  MLB trade rumors predicted the top fifty free agent signings a few days ago. They had Jansen coming to the Cubs on a five-year contract.

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This situation may depend on what Dexter Fowler does because he has to be on the top of the Cubs list.  If they can sign Fowler, they will look internally for the closer, and there are some good options.  Carl Edwards, Jr., or maybe just give Hector Rondon his job back. But, if the Cubs can sign one of the big closers, they will go for it.