Chicago Cubs have to go sign Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 14: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros warms up prior to taking on the Seattle Mariners during their game at T-Mobile Park on April 14, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 14: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros warms up prior to taking on the Seattle Mariners during their game at T-Mobile Park on April 14, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Hendricks will need help at the top of the rotation in ’20

What the Cubs haven’t had, quite frankly, was another stud in the barn, corral, or pasture (or field, if you’d like). With the departure (and natural decline) of Arrieta and the aging of Lester, the Cubs haven’t found a way to replace those two workhorses at the top of the rotation the last couple years. Sure, Hendricks is still around and doing his thing; but out of the three, he’s the only amigo left who is still pitching at an elite level. He’s the only one of the three you’d put money on at this point in his career in a winner-take-all playoff game.

Yu Darvish was signed before the 2018 season to essentially replace Arrieta in the rotation. For his first year and a half in Chicago, it seemed as if his signing might be one of the worst signings in the history of the franchise. Then, late this past spring, Darvish went out and started challenging hitters at a much more frequent rate, posting an absurd strikeout-to-walk ratio of 229 to 56 for the season. To show how much he changed in the second half of the year, from July 3 to the end of the year, he struck out 124 and walked only seven hitters while posting a sub-3 ERA in his final 14 starts.

While Darvish had a great second half to 2019 and could be that same guy in 2020 for the entire year, is anyone willing to bet their farm on that? Didn’t think so. And, that’s nothing against Darvish – I honestly think he’ll be the real deal for an entire season in ’20.

Take a look at what both the Astros and Nationals trotted out to the mound in the playoffs: Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke for the Astros;  Max Scherzer, Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin for the Nats. The Astros trio combined to go 59-16 this season. (49-12 for the Astros, as Greinke didn’t start the season with them). The Nats triumvirate went 43-20, however Scherzer missed six starts. Do those numbers look somewhat familiar?

They should, because they’re basically the same type of numbers Cubs fans saw in 2016 when the Cubs trotted out a stud 60 percent of the time during the season and almost exclusively in the postseason.

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