Cubs have what they’ve lacked for years: an abundance of arms

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

As the season comes to a close and all eyes turn toward 2023, the Chicago Cubs have a lot to improve this upcoming offseason. When you look at the roster, as a whole, the obvious needs for this team is more power in the lineup and a top-of-the-line starter. One thing the Cubs might not need to spend heavily on, though, is added depth for the pitching staff.

Throughout the season, we have seen plenty of Cubs pitchers turn the corner and become viable major league contributors. Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson and Adrian Sampson have all been some of the highlight players for the Cubbies this year. They are part of the reason Chicago will not need to spend a boatload of money on the rotation this winter (with the exception of grabbing a headliner).

Looking at Cubs pitchers all under control for next season, there are plenty of names that made a difference this season. Here are the pitchers that can compete for a spot in the rotation next year:

  • Marcus Stroman
  • Justin Steele
  • Keegan Thompson
  • Adrian Sampson
  • Kyle Hendricks
  • Adbert Alzolay
  • Javier Assad
  • Hayden Wesneski
  • Caleb Kilian

Now obviously you look at those names, and it is clear and obvious that the Cubs are still missing that ace presence atop the rotation. Thankfully, the club is likely to spend on a top starter this offseason. Tommy Hottovy has stated the brass is already looking at names to go out and pursue and the Cubs have been actively linked to All-Star Carlos Rodon.

A very good starter to go along with that group of guys previously mentioned could make for one of the better rotations in Major League Baseball.

What could the 2023 Cubs starting rotation look like?

Let’s just assume the Cubs get a top starter, what would the rotation look like? Well, I can guarantee you Stroman and Steele’s names are both written in pen heading into 2023. The question from there becomes: who rounds out this group next spring?

I think Kyle Hendricks will get another chance to bounce back after an injury-riddled season because the Cubs know what he can do. After that, I would argue that Adrian Sampson would get the fifth spot in the rotation.

Outside of those four (plus our presumptive ace addition), there is still a massive list of names poised to give David Ross’ club tremendous pitching depth, both in the rotation and the bullpen.

Cubs: What happens to Keegan Thompson and others?

I think the biggest question that might be asked is why is Keegan Thompson not going to be a starter. While I may be mistaken, I think the Cubs will use the young right-hander in the same manner they did earlier this year. When an injury inevitably happens, Thompson can slide right into the rotation as needed.

That still leaves you with Alozlay, Wesneski, Kilian and Assad. I think Wesneski and Alzolay will start the season in the bullpen where they can strive from the get-go and give the Cubs some really good innings. Assad and Kilian will most likely start the season in the minors but be on standby for the major league club.

This is an incredible problem to have. The Cubs have proven post-All-Star break that they have a lot of quality starters. That is proven by their team ERA which is the third-best in all of baseball in the second half.

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Jed Hoyer and company still have a lot to prove this offseason. They still have to make this club a contender and go out and spend money. Even though the Cubs have to spend all that money, one of the positives will be the number of arms already on the roster that can make an immediate impact.