Cubs News: Mike Minor looks like an ideal one-year target for the team

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Mike Minor #23 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the San Francisco Giants at RingCentral Coliseum on September 20, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Giants defeated the Athletics 14-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Mike Minor #23 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the San Francisco Giants at RingCentral Coliseum on September 20, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Giants defeated the Athletics 14-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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In their search for more pitching, the Cubs should be in on veteran Mike Minor.

There is no shortage of free agent arms for the Chicago Cubs to pursue this winter and they desperately need some quality behind Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks. Given that Alec Mills has earned himself a spot in the team’s starting rotation, it may be best to find someone who can be a new swingman for the team. Veteran Mike Minor could fit the bill.

Minor had a down year in 2020 with the Rangers and the A’s, and even saw his average fastball velocity drop from 92.5 to 90.6 mph, but given the small sample size, unusual conditions and his past success, he’s definitely still worth a look. Between 2018 and 2019, Minor was a very solid starting pitcher, posting a 3.84 ERA and a 1.188 WHIP along with an All-Star appearance and an eighth place finish in Cy Young voting in 2019.

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Even in his years with Atlanta, his numbers weren’t half bad. In 2013, he put up a 3.21 ERA and 1.090 WHIP in 204 2/3 innings which represent easily the best numbers of his career. Overall, he managed a solid, though not game-changing performance with the Braves and Rangers, but he’s even demonstrated the ability to pitch out of the bullpen.

In 2017, Minor revitalized his career with the Kansas City Royals as a reliever. He posted an ERA of 2.55 out of the pen while managing an elite 10.2 K/9, making him a deadly depth piece. Adding him as a lefty reliever is certainly an option, though it’s more likely that the team would need his arm in the rotation.

Minor would add a solid lefty to a rotation that just lost Jon Lester and Jose Quintana to free agency. Unless Lester resigns with the team on a short-term contract, Minor could fill that hole in the Cubs’ rotation with the flexibility to shift into the bullpen if he underperforms. The question remains if he would be in the team’s price range, but the surprising value Drew Smyly received from the Braves recently indicates that Minor might get more than the team would be willing to pay.

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It’s uncertain if the Chicago Cubs would go out and spend on Minor, but his versatility would make him a solid addition to the team. He isn’t going to fundamentally change the team’s rotation, but having behind Darvish and Hendricks gives the team a decently reliable veteran arm to back up the dynamic duo. If it doesn’t work out there, toss him in the bullpen and see if he can recapture that 2017 magic.

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