Cubs release Colin Rea, dealing yet another blow to team’s pitching depth

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Cubs have lost another yet depth arm in right-hander Colin Re a.

Remember back in 2016 when the starting rotation was a major source of strength for the Cubs? Yeah, this year isn’t going to be anything like that. Chicago traded its ace, NL Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish, and lost Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood to free agency.

Right now, longtime rotation staple Kyle Hendricks and recent acquisition Zach Davies are really the only proven commodities in the team’s starting five. Behind that duo, Alec Mills – who threw a no-hitter in a very up-and-down 2020 season and Adbert Alzolay seem likely to get looks, as well.

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But coming off a 60-game season, you’re 100 percent going to need more arms than that to get through a full 162-game slate. The team is reportedly planning on relying on their young pitchers. Unfortunately, they’ve lost a member of that group in former Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year Colin Rea.

Now Rea isn’t exactly a kid at this point. The former 12th-rounder split time between the rotation and the bullpen for the Cubs last year, tossing 14 innings and working to a pretty pedestrian 5.79 ERA and 4.98 FIP. But just two seasons ago, he was the rock atop the Triple-A rotation, winning 14 games with a 3.95 ERA in the very hitter-friendly PCL.

Given how the team has proceeded this offseason, it’s hard to imagine anything more than a reclamation project or minor league signing with an invite to big league camp. At one point, I felt a guy like Corey Kluber could be a possibility. But after the Darvish trade, personally I don’t even think that’s the pool the Cubs are going to be swimming in during the weeks to come.

"“We’re certainly in the free-agent market,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said last week. “It’s been a slow free-agent market, but certainly we’re well aware there’s some holes on our roster. We lost, through free agency with Lester and Q and Chatwood, we lost three really good starting pitchers, and certainly, we’re well aware of that.”"

A reunion with Lester cannot be ruled out, although to this point, Hoyer has just kept tabs on the soon-to-be 37-year-old, three-time World Series champion. The two sides haven’t talked numbers and it remains to be seen if that ever happens.

Next. Cubs will trade these three players before the deadline. dark

In a typical offseason, letting a guy like Rea walk to pursue opportunities overseas is a footnote on the winter. But with the team shedding north of $75 million in payroll and teetering on the brink of a total rebuild, it’s a loss that means a whole lot more.

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