Chicago Cubs: Who do they have targeted as free agents?

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros

The apparent name is Gerrit Cole. Cole is familiar with the NL Central, having made his debut with the Pirates and staying there until being traded before the 2018 season to the Astros.

Cole has pitched 200 innings three times and struck out over 200 hitters three times. He currently leads the Majors in strikeouts with 252. The Cubs could desperately use a pitcher that misses bats and strikes hitters out; Cole is just that. He has a 2.53 ERA vs. the Cubs in his career, so the Cubs could afford not to face him for a long time.

The problem with Cole is that he’s approaching 30, and guys that throw as hard as possible don’t age too gracefully. He may also have his heart set on going back home to California, but that won’t stop the Cubs from pursuing him this winter.

If the Cubs are serious about fixing a myriad of issues, finding an ace pitcher would be a great start.

Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants

The other ace available on the market, and really, a pitcher who fits the profile of the Cubs a little bit better is Madison Bumgarner. He doesn’t throw too hard but makes his living off the corners and weak contact. The postseason experience is also an enticing factor. Like Cole though, he’s aging, he will be 31 at the end of the 2020 season.

He doesn’t walk guys, only averaging 2 BB/9 in his career, and as mentioned about the strikeouts, just 8.76 K/9. His ground ball rate is the lowest it has ever been, at only 36.5 percent, but that could be the juiced ball.

He once pitched 200+ innings six seasons in a row from 2011-2016 and has made 30+ starts six years and will hit the seventh season this year, he’s durable. Bumgarner will probably fetch a hefty salary, but he is buyer-beware.