Chicago Cubs: Top three realistic free agent acquisitions this offseason

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(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Low-cost and effective, this guy makes a ton of sense

Right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler would bring a new, younger perspective to a struggling Cubs pitching staff. Though Wheeler missed both 2015 and 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, the New York starter came back in 2017 and had to work hard to get back to where he left off with the Mets. In 2017, Wheeler posted a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts which signaled that more work needed to be done.

It wasn’t until the second half of 2018 that Wheeler began to show improvement. In the first half of the season, Wheeler posted a 4.44 ERA going 3-6 in 18 starts. While his ERA was lower than the year prior, it still wasn’t back to where Wheeler should’ve been.

However, in the second half of 2018, Wheeler posted a 1.68 ERA, going 9-1 in 11 starts. Needless to say, the Zack Wheeler the Mets knew was in there somewhere came back to life.

In 2019, Wheeler continued to prove the narrative that he was, and is in fact a second half pitcher. In the first half of the season, Wheeler posted a 4.69 ERA going 6-6 in 19 starts. In the second half, the 29-year-old posted a 2.83 ERA in a dozen starts going 5-2.

Over the years, despite Wheeler’s teammate Jacob deGrom grabbing headlines, Wheeler has established himself as one of the most high-upside pitchers in all of baseball. Unlike Cubs starter Yu Darvish, Wheeler is inexpensive and capable of producing better results than Darvish initially did for the team at his high price.

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