The number one thing holding the Chicago Cubs back from running away with the National League Central? An ace. Hey, I wonder if Yu Darvish is available…? Too soon? Sorry.
After the club went from seller to a first-place team poised to add over the last month-plus, we’ve speculated on a number of potential targets, ranging from former Cy Young winners like Max Scherzer to run-of-the-mill arms that represent more depth than a true headliner.
Right now, you have Kyle Hendricks. That’s it. That’s the only starter capable of going toe-to-toe with an ace in a critical postseason matchup. And while he’s been admittedly stronger of late, the 31-year-old right-hander hasn’t been his typical reliable self this year. He carries a 4.46 ERA, 5.63 FIP and 10.4 H/9 in 74 2/3 innings of work.
Because of his resume, you probably trust him in October. But even if that’s the case, David Ross has nowhere to turn after him in a best-of-five series. Jake Arrieta? No chance. Zach Davies? He’s in the same boat as Hendricks as in he’s been better lately but far from someone you trust in a must-win contest.
Adbert Alzolay and Trevor Williams are hurt, leaving the Cubs filling the rest of the rotation with a carousel of guys from Iowa – while simultaneously trying to stay atop the division. That’s why, even though he’s a quality arm, German Marquez of the Rockies cannot, under any circumstance, be Jed Hoyer’s big move ahead of the trade deadline.