I hope everyone has enjoyed their Holidays! After a few days of quality time with the family, it's time to get back into all things Chicago Cubs-related as the offseason pushes on. Today, I thought it could be fun to discuss two players on the Cubs' 40-man roster, one that should be extended and one the front office should hold off on inking long-term.
The team has many big decisions to make in the coming weeks, and although these players aren't at the front of the conversation at the moment, it's essential to keep their names in mind as we roll into the 2024 season.
1 extension to make - Justin Steele
The ace of the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, Justin Steele, earns the mark of one player who the Cubs need to ensure is around long term. After a breakout season in which he recorded a 0.98 ERA in the second half of 2022, Steele's devastating fastball/slider combo picked up where it left off, as he finished 5th in Cy Young voting this season. According to Fangraphs, he ended the 2023 campaign with a 3.06 ERA (3.02 FIP) and a 4.9 WAR.
Steele's Steamer projects him for 181.0 IP next season and a 3.69 ERA. Personally, I believe he'll pick up where he left off, finishing next season with a mark closer to the low 3.00s as he did this year. Steele has the next three years of arbitration on his contract before hitting free agency in 2028.
The Cubs could wait to see how he continues to excel next year, but the writing appears on the wall here. This is exactly what the Cubs want from their new pitching infrastructure: A home-grown talent that can be around for a long time.