Chicago Cubs: Team doesn’t need Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish to win
Do the Cubs need either pitcher?
While the Cubs would certainly like to have Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish in 2018, the truth is, they don’t actually need either one of them to stay competitive in the NL Central.
The free agent market for starting pitchers is pretty thin this year. There aren’t a lot options for multiple teams to make significant upgrades to their rotation, unless big trades are made.
Consider this: Even though the Cubs’ rotation had somewhat of a down year, they still had the lowest ERA of any team in the NL Central. The Brewers had the next lowest with a 4.10 ERA, and the Cincinnati Reds had the highest with a 5.55 ERA.
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Kyle Hendricks has shown consistency and is capable of bringing ace-caliber value. It’s more than reasonable to expect Jose Quintana to turn things around in 2018. There has reportedly been mutual interest between the Cubs and starting pitcher Alex Cobb. He could help round out a solid rotation, and for a substantially cheaper price than Arrieta or Darvish. Also, keep in mind the Cubs’ supposed desire to sign Bryce Harper next year. They’ll need to save some dollars if they want to pull that off.
The bottom line is this: With or without Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish, the Cubs still have arguably the best rotation in the NL Central. And their lineup is obviously the top of the heap. They could still make a trade mid-season for a championship push, but as is, they can save a ton of money and remain at the top of their division.