Chicago Cubs: 3 areas the front office must improve this winter

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Hendricks / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: 3 areas to improve this winter – 2. Starting Rotation

If you were suddenly expecting the Cubs’ starting rotation to figure something out as the year went on, you’re sitting at home pretty disappointed. Though Justin Steele finished the year on a very high note, tossing seven shutout innings of seven-strikeout, four-hit ball, he was still pulled at only 76 pitches while throwing a gem. This reiterated something we already knew: Steele just doesn’t (at least not yet) have the ability to max out a pitch count near triple-digits. Therefore, when he got into trouble, his outings were mainly 4-5 innings max.

As was the case with Keegan Thompson, who the Cubs continue to have high hopes for. Granted, he has sky-high potential but is yet to put it all together at the big league level. He too has a short leash and saw an average of no more than 3 to 4 innings. These are not numbers the front office can rely on moving forward from their starters. It is almost safer to keep Steele and Thompson as solid pieces in the bullpen or push them to Iowa and really let them get stretched out.

As for the rest of the rotation, Trevor Williams was traded at the deadline and Zach Davies had an incredibly down year after a polar opposite season in 2020. Davies finished with a 5.78 ERA to go along with a 6-12 record. He will test free agency this season and more than likely not receive an offer to reup with the Cubs. Even Kyle Hendricks, who is now the Cubs ace, finished with a 14-7 record but a brutal 4.77 ERA. If the Cubs are looking to spend intelligently, it will be on quality starters to help the rotation. You simply can not have success in Major League Baseball with below -average starting pitching.