Cubs have makings of a solid 2023 rotation heading into the offseason
By Mia Perlman
Though Opening Day feels like a lifetime away, it will be here sooner than we think. We know the Cubs are planning on being very active this offseason – with a chief priority of adding some power to the offense. To say the least, the current lineup is in desperate need of some ‘oomph’.
But when it comes to pitching, the bullpen and starting pitching depth has really taken center stage down the stretch. This season has been incredibly telling for the future of Chicago’s arms. In terms of starting pitchers, Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson and Adrian Sampson proven their worth. They were effective rotation options and will save the Cubs some money, this offseason.
Sure, they might go out and look to add an ace to their rotation, but they won’t need to spend as much on arms as many would’ve suspected even six months ago. So let’s look at which current Cubs pitchers might make up the 2023 rotation.
A look at what the 2023 Chicago Cubs rotation might look like
Let’s assume the Cubs do what we are all hoping for and acquire an ace to lead the rotation. High-caliber pitchers, including Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon, headline the free-agent market. Either one would be an excellent addition to the North Side. International standout Kodai Senga also looks like a likely target. But let’s look at the guys we’re all familiar with who can round out the rotation in 2023.
Steele turned in a breakout 2022 showing, despite his season ending early due to a back injury. The left-hander made 24 starts, working to a 3.18 ERA and 3.21 FIP, thanks largely to a minuscule barrel rate. Marcus Stroman is another arm guaranteed a rotation spot. The 31-year-old has been stellar since the All-Star Break – and with a normal offseason planned, he should come back at full strength in 2023.
Kyle Hendricks is considered questionable. The veteran’s season ended abruptly in early July with a right shoulder strain. Following this injury-riddled season, Hendricks will get another chance to bounce back coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons. The hope is that he will return to his old self by spring.
The fifth and final rotation spot left could belong to Keegan Thompson. However, he’s not exactly a lock in my mind. The 27-year-old emerged as a quality starter, but was even better coming out of the bullpen. Sampson has also made a case for being worthy of a rotation spot, but we’ll have to see if he can follow up what he did this season again in 2023.
Adbert Alzolay, Javier Assad, Hayden Weskeski and Caleb Killan also have a chance to get that final spot. The bottom line is that most, if not all, of the questions concerning the starting rotation, can be answered once Chicago can see how their pitchers look during spring training and whether the team pursues a starter in the free-agent market.
In addition, the North Siders could even dip into their farm system to trade for a proven starter. There are many ways this could go. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see how things play out and who will make an impact in 2023.