If this offseason boils down to one thing for the Chicago Cubs, it’s going to be addressing the starting rotation. Luckily, this winter’s free agent class is loaded with arms that could fit the bill for the North Siders – but, of course, the quality of pitcher will be decided by what level of spending the front office is comfortable with.
High profile pitchers are already disappearing from the market. The Detroit Tigers signed Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million deal on Monday. The next day, the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Berrios agreed to a massive seven-year, $131 million extension and the Mets lost right-hander Noah Syndergaard to the Los Angeles Angels on a one-year, $21 million deal.
The bottom line is that, with the uncertainty stemming from the collective bargaining agreement talks, the entire offseason – and the 2022 season – is on very shaky ground right now. It looks like at least some players are looking to sign prior to a likely stoppage on December 1, which is all the more reason Chicago needs to go after pitching sooner rather than later.
I wouldn’t count on Jed Hoyer throwing stacks of cash at Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander. But among the names in that next tier of arms, you’ll find left-hander Alex Wood, who won’t break the bank in anywhere near the same fashion as those high-priced aces.
Alex Wood could be a viable, affordable option for the Chicago Cubs
Wood is just one free agent who could potentially be a good fit for the Chicago Cubs rotation. Unfortunately, the 30-year-old Wood has had some injury issues throughout his career, especially over the past few years. However, when he is healthy, he has proven he’s capable of being a valuable asset to almost any ball club, especially one in need of starters like Chicago.
In 2020, when Wood was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he battled some shoulder issues. As a result, he only made nine appearances, including two starts across the 60-game abbreviated season, working to a 6.39 ERA. Following that season, Wood was granted free agency and signed with the San Francisco Giants, where he had one of his strongest years.
Though Wood missed a couple of weeks at the beginning of 2021, he was able to put a solid season together where he posted a 3.83 ERA in 26 starts. He also missed a couple of starts in August and September when he was on the COVID-19 restricted list but was otherwise healthy throughout the season.
Given his injury history, Wood could come to Chicago on a relatively cheap deal. Plus, there is always the hope that he will continue his success from the 2021 season. If you ask me, an incentive-laden deal could lure the lefty to the Windy City – while giving the Cubs another arm in the mix.