3 things the Cubs are missing to be a serious World Series threat
By Jake Misener
3 things Cubs are missing to be a serious World Series threat - #2: A bonafide ace cemented atop the starting rotation
Jed Hoyer's big free agent pitching addition came in the form of right-hander Jameson Taillon, who spent the last two years with the Yankees after being plenty familiar with the Cubs while playing for the division-rival Pirates from 2016-19.
The recipient of a four-year, $68 million pact, Taillon is coming off a 1.3 bWAR 2022 season in the Bronx in which he racked up 177 1/3 frames and worked to a 3.94 FIP. A solid body of work - and one that would have seen him lead all Cubs pitchers in workload by a significant margin - but not a resume of an ace, something this team badly needs.
A rotation of Taillon, Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman, Hayden Wesneski and Drew Smyly (at least until Kyle Hendricks returns) is nothing to sneeze at - but it certainly isn't going to have opposing lineups shaking in their boots on a nightly basis, either. You can make the case that, of those six arms, it's the one with just 33 big league innings under his belt (Wesneski) who carries the highest upside.
There are plenty of top-of-the-rotation arms available next winter in free agency (Shohei Ohtani, Julio Urias, Aaron Nola) and perhaps Hoyer will dip into the war chest to land one of them. But, for now, Chicago has assembled a high quality mix of rotation arms that lacks a true shutdown presence at its head heading into 2023.