It’s well noted, by now, that the Chicago Cubs will only have three members of this current rotation left after this 2017 season. How will they fill that void?
Many fans have speculated as to how the Chicago Cubs will fill these slots in the rotation. Whether it be through trades, or free agency, or even internally. In this article, we will delve a little deeper into some of the possibilities.
The current rotation consists of co-aces Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, followed by Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey, with Mike Montgomery rounding out the rotation. Now, the issue that is at stake here is that the Cubs don’t have a lot of minor league pitching that is Major League ready. The good thing is they will have another season to get all the necessary development that they need.
Should the Cubs choose to go the internal route, some names to keep an eye on will include Ryan Williams down at Iowa, Jen-Ho Tseng who is currently at Double-A Tennessee, Oscar De La Cruz down at Single-A, although he may still be a year or two away. Duane Underwood, who finished last season at Double-A Tennessee is another name to watch.
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There are some notable free agents in next year’s class, and while few of them are impact pitchers, many of them have been anchors in their rotations.
Alex Cobb: Despite Cobb’s injury problems, he’s been a very solid Major League pitcher during his career, and the Cubs have always liked him. Remember the rampant “Jorge Soler/Javy Baez for Alex Cobb+” trade rumors? The connection is there.
Chris Tillman: This is more of a long shot, as it’s likely that Tillman ends up back in Baltimore. He’s been the Orioles’ ace for a few years now, and there is no reason to not expect that to continue.
Michael Pineda: A guy who has never really hit his potential, and a guy the Yankees would be unlikely to re-sign during their rebuild, as they will be saving for the 2018 free agency class. But, if Pineda is looking for a change of scenery, the Cubs would be a good fit.
Johnny Cueto: Cueto has an opt-out after year two with the Giants. If he decides to opt-out, and the Cubs want another front line starter to replace Arrieta, Cueto is their man.
And then there’s Jake
Jake Arrieta: Arrieta is a free agent, and will be looking to make big money in free agency. The Cubs may not be willing to pay big money. But if the price ends up coming down, there may be a reunion after all. According to Bruce Levine, Arrieta remains open to an extension and doesn’t want to see his time with the Cubs come to an end. You can find that full interview here.
Now, how will the rotation fill out after it’s all said and done? The Cubs may just look internally if they feel their guys are ready. Theo and Co. could even strike a trade deal for an unexpected name, as they have been known to do in the past. This will be a fun story to follow leading up to next season.