Chicago Cubs: Keeping up with the competition in the National League

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs no longer the benefactor of a lowly Cincinnati rotation

The Reds had one of the busiest offseasons in all of baseball and made one of the largest trades of the winter in a seven-player deal that brought Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood to Cincinnati.

But the addition of Wood and fellow starters Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark are the most notable acquisitions for a team that ranked 28th in WAR among starting pitchers, according to Baseball-Reference.

Wood was due for a regression after going 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA in 2017, but he still had a very respectable 3.68 ERA in 27 starts for the Dodgers last season. Roark has hardly been spectacular after consecutive seasons above a 4.00 ERA, but he is a ground-ball pitcher in a ballpark that demands such a style.

Gray could hold the keys to Cincinnati’s season as the potential ace. He struggled to a 4.90 ERA last season but pitched well away from Yankee Stadium. The right-hander had 3.17 ERA and 9.9 K/9 on the road, which suggests that he may have just needed a change in scenery.

Can he have success in what was a very hitter-friendly ballpark last season? If so, he could be a focal point in a major Reds rebound.

Puig and Kemp are solid additions to a lineup that stands to score some more runs this season, but it is the arms in the rotation that will have the biggest impact.